Abstract

Based on the critical concept of trans*aesthetics, the author examines the aesthetic agency of photography and photographs of and for trans* women living in two iconic periods within the history of modern Singapore, namely, the early 1980s and early 2010s. He prioritizes the creative production over the visibility agenda and receptive prejudices that pertain inherently to trans* activism. The author argues that the act of posing in front of the camera for trans* women cannot be reified but must be critically examined for its materialist ontology, a framework that includes the body, the dress, and the attitude of the model. The transformation of these three domains, including the different attitudes of being demure, fierce, or natural, will determine the otherwise transnormative subject position presented by the photographer.

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