Most people are born into a body in which they live contentedly throughout their lives. Transgender people, however, have to rebuild themselves after their birth. They are in a kind of in-between state and their emotions and hopes are in conflict with the expectations of society.
For his series Unfinished, Tero Puha has been photographing the transition process of three different-aged transgender people since 1997.
Puha worked the black-and-white documentary material from these shoots by re-shooting the photographs through water, ice and various reflections. When seen through various materials, the portraits lost their figurative nature and the people portrayed became
characters with blurred bodies and dissolved, unrecognisable faces.
In his photographs, Puha has striven to capture the emotions that a transgender person may be feeling. How do you perceive yourself in a world where society wants to pigeonhole people? How does it feel to look in the mirror? How does the gaze of other people feel? How do the mind and the soul keep up when the body is changing and reshaping? The Unfinished project is the artist’s attempt to understand what it is to be transgender. It was not until Puha’s close friend went through the gender reassignment process that the artist understood that the physical changes are the least significant and that the mental and social factors far outweigh them.
ANNA-KAISA RASTENBERGER / THE FINNISH MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
UNFINISHED (2010) / PHOTOGRAPHIC SERIES