As most any photojournalist will tell you, it’s the subject matter that draws us to the profession. And I’m no different. By and large, the subject matter is what makes a job interesting or boring. Meeting new people, exploring new cultures or segments of society with our cameras and learning about new subjects is a huge reason I remain in the field. I had a recent assignment to photograph a professor who teaches Queer Studies at USC (yes, they actually call it Queer Studies) who is a perfect example of why I enjoy what I do. The professor is a model for individuality and a great example of being true to yourself. In my opinion, a real asset to any USC student.
Professor Halberstam has researched and produced a body of work including several books that questions, among other things, a society’s perception of gender. I certainly won’t attempt to summarize a complex body of research here, but I can say that the work delves deeply into the idea of masculinity and gender. What does it mean to be “masculine” and what impact does that have on “gender.” Is it acceptable to be masculine only if you’re male? What does it mean to be a “male?” Does it mean that you have a particular genitalia or does it mean that you also look and behave in a “masculine” way?
The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote a profile on Professor Halberstam that I urge you to read. But before you click on the link below, take a look at the photos and tell me if you think Professor Halberstam’s first name is “Judith” or “Jack”. To put it another way, what gender is the professor? Is the professor a transgender? Leave a comment if you’d like and tell me what led you to your conclusion?
The story is here at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website: http://chronicle.com/article/Queer-20/130156/