“Noé was born into the wrong body, and he has been trying to fix nature’s mistake”. For two months, Emma Birski, 21, has photographed her transgender brother, as he reconciled with his body. She created Cause I’m a man, a project made of allegories.

“Noé, born “Garance” is 15, and he just got prescribed his first hormones.” Emma Birski, Noé’s sister, sets the tone. She developed a taste for photography as she shot fashion pictures to publish them on her blog, six years ago. Today, she is completing an apprenticeship in Gobelins (School of Image), in Paris. Few of Emma’s pictures are not composed. “Photography is a way to express myself, and to stage things that I acknowledge as beautiful, but that I would not notice in real life”. In each project, she respects her model’s personality to create a tiny universe around them. “I feel like I am transforming every one of them into a cartoon or a video game character”, she adds. Her series Cause I’m a man is an exception. “I wanted to remain neutral in the colours I used, to highlight the model and the theme”, she tells us. In March 2008, she decided to photograph the decision of his brother, 15, transgender.

“The hormones will soon start to work, and will do everything they can for his body to reflect who he really is”. Emma documented transidentity, but she also captured a bare portrait of her brother, who had difficulties looking at his own reflection in the pictures. “I wanted to illustrate this transition in colour, and with lightness, because this topic is too often linked with sadness and melancholia (…) I wanted to capture things with a new angle and to make those you don’t understand understand… “ And, the message is received loud and clear. Appointment at a hairdresser, a customised Barbie doll, or even an injection made on a cacti symbolising Noé’s interrogations and the milestones of his transformation. Apart from his body changing, the staged pictures categorically reject the stereotypes of our modern society…

© Emma Birski