ELLEN WALLENSTEIN | Pocketbook of Drag Queens

SPOTLIGHT HOME

As a woman photographing men dressed as women, I was
doubly aware of the surrealism involved.

From 1995 through 2001, I worked as a Tarot-card Reader at Lucky Cheng’s, an East Village restaurant that employs transgender waitresses and drag performers. I was also able to document some parts of the lives of the people who surrounded me. The waitresses and performers became friends; they allowed me to photograph them both “on” and “off”. There was mutual trust.

As a woman photographing men dressed as women, I was doubly aware of the surrealism involved. It made me question what I used to take for granted, about appearances and what constitutes gender.

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