This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
A blonde gives birth to a grown man on a bloody operating table. This bizarre picture drew a steady crowd during a recent benefit auction for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Such prolonged gazes were high praise; small wonder then that this picture won Troy Dunham and Jeff Eason a prize for best emerging artists in the photography category at GLAAD's 7th Annual OUTAuction NYC. The artists were stimulated by a visual pun on how drag queens "birth"; young boys discovering and giving form to the queen within. Through digital manipulation, the diva and the "oldborn" are actually played by the same model. So she's giving birth to himself?
The picture hits upon something deeper than gender games. After the initial hardwired jolt of seeing smears of blood, the scene turns out not to be as bad as it first appears. The doctors' posture is relaxed and their eyes convey the calm trance of a familiar procedure. The deliverer yelps on her phone, smiles widely and strikes a pose. The morphine bag drips. Only the emerging man screams but like an infant that doesn't understand it will fare fine in the unfamiliar.
This picture speaks to moments in which we -- as corny as it may sound -- give birth to a new self. Whether it's coming out of the closet, ending a long term relationship, or changing jobs, life transitions initially can feel bloody -- until acclimation puts things in perspective.