18 February 2020

Photo Documentary

By Alexa

Busy, busy, busy…
Lately my schedule is fuller than I’ve ever wanted it to be. Where in the past (before my realization) I had 1 appointment a week most of the times, these days having 4 a week has become quite ‘normal’. This means that I need to do some time management and this week I’ve taken a full week ‘off’ and my schedule is quite empty, allowing me to spend time on other things I love to do, like write on my blog.

That Special Moment

Sometimes you have to be lucky to be at the right place at the right time and I was that on Saturday the 11th of January this year.

I was in Amsterdam on the Dam Square and on my way to a new-years party. I met an other trans woman and we sat on the stairs of the palace talking about the transition, social aspects and about the VUmc’s waiting lists.

After having said our goodbyes I crossed Dam Square but didn’t get far. Having walked only a few steps a young woman with a camera approached me and introduced herself as Roos Meeus. She was making photos of memorable people on Dam Square that evening and asking if she could make a picture of me, which she’d email to me as well. And while I normally say ‘no’ to that kind of requests I said ‘yes’ this time – there was something about her, something genuine.

The Photo Arrived

I’ve been keeping an eye on my gmail account for the photo to arrive. At one point I was even afraid it was marked as spam accidentally and I threw it away. But that wasn’t the case. On January 28 I received the photo and put it up as my WhatsApp and twitter profile picture immediately – I loved it that much!

My mom saw the new WhatsApp profile picture very quickly (which surprises me since she’t not so digitally literate 😛) and called me immediately. She told me that she loved it but that the withdrawn (male) hairline wasn’t that appealing and that she wanted to give me a wig as early birthday present (which won’t happen until late April).

My mother, brother and I had a diner planned that same evening around 6. She asked me to come to her place around 3 so we could go shopping. I’ll give you the short version of our shopping (yes I can be short on a story 😉).
I tried 3 different wigs in the store. The first one was too dark and made me look at least 10 years older. The second one was a lot better but I thought the hair was too long (almost to my hips). The third one (as shown on the picture) I loved immediately. The hair is brown/reddish, a bit curly and comes to my breast.

Only Positive Responses

The photo Roos made was received by my family and friends with great love and approval. Everyone loved it and I rote so to Roos.

She was of course very happy by these positive responses and we started to email a bit. She said that she’s always looking for interesting people to make a series of photos and that I am one of those people. But instead of a series she wanted to make a documentary of my life and transition.

Planning the Documentary

Last Thursday we met again in a coffee shop (not the weed blowing kind of type 😜) near Dam Square to talk the documentary over and (more importantly) see if there’s a ‘click’.
The click was there in deed and we agreed to make a start with the documentary as soon as we can. Roos said she’d send me the concept of the documentary (which just reminded me to send her a reminder for it).
The documentary will obvious take place over several year.

To me it’ll an extremely valuable part of my transition. Much like this blog it will show how much I will change over time – for the good and the worst. I write worst there, because I agreed with Roos that she also can take photos of me when I’m emotionally a wrack, and from what I have heard of other trans women that will most certainly happen!

For Roos it’s an unique opportunity to grow as a photographer (did I mention she just started to study photography?). She won’t be able to use the photos for her study because of the time span of the documentary.

That’s it already. I am sure I’ve forgotten to write quite a lot of things, certainly when it comes to the planning of the documentary. But when I remember more details I’ll write updates below.

Love Alexa 💋