Swimming in Light
Following the motif of the Polaroid high contrast flash portraiture the works in this growing body of paintings explore not just the effects of the camera and flash on my body but also the way that society views and controls what I do with it. Growing up in Florida, swimming was a favorite past time. In high school I enjoyed being around the water in as many ways as I could. Many times my friends and I would engage in skinny dipping, in pools, at the beach, and in lakes. Now I am too uncomfortable to even consider swimming, what does a trans woman wear to the beach? A recent survey asked transgender individuals what they would do if there were no cisgender people. More than 80% said go swimming.
These paintings depict fake experiences. Made up moments created from flash photographs taken inside, manipulated with other images taken at night of the beach in Photoshop. These paintings challenge my own understanding of my body as well as the viewers. They are protest and they are validation.
This growing body of work features paintings created from Polaroid photographs. Each work is a reaction to the distortions inherent in the low quality portraits shot with the camera's flash in either dark rooms or dark environments. Individuals featured are artist, students, and friends who have positive effects on my life as a trans woman. Each painting is completed in a single session as a further extension of the ephemeral moment of the flash bouncing off flesh.
Copyright Molly Vaughan