Analysis (Services and Self)

Koan Bremner's view on life as a database and data warehouse professional / addict and non-genetic woman

Thursday, February 03, 2005

In front of the lens

Yesterday was the third day of filming for the TV documentary series I'm taking part in; and it was a really fun day. I had a primary objective for the day, which was to get a decent photograph which could be used for my new passport, driving license and other forms of official ID, and since I want the end results to be as useful (and, yes, flattering; I'm a vain bitch; so sue me!) as possible, I decided to have them taken by a professional photographer (rather than trust to the joys of a mechanical photo booth). To maximise the aesthetic effect, I also asked the proprietor of the salon which I use every few weeks for waxing and the like if she would give me a makeover for the camera, which she agreed to do. So, a film crew of two, a photographer, a cosmetician and I set up shop in a photographic studio and tried to fashion a silk purse out of this particular sow's ear! :-) After taking the "official" photos, Richard (the photographer) then took a series of more informal shots (it seemed a shame to waste the fantastic makeover which Melanie had given me) and I'll have the results of both on Saturday morning (which means I should finally have some pictures of myself worth posting here), ready for my trip to the Passport Office in London next week, to get my new passport!

There is a serious aspect to this apparent indulgence. If I travel overseas, I will be travelling as a woman, since that's how I live. My new passport will also reflect that. Personally, I need the confidence that the photo in the passport isn't itself going to give an immigration official pause for thought, and that it won't look completely at odds with the person holding it. For example, I have travelled to the US many times in the past,and I know how stringent their immigration checks are (especially, and understandably, since the events of September 11 2001). Really, the last thing I need is to be singled out for "special attention" if I have to travel there; a rubber-gloved body cavity search I can do without, thanks all the same. Besides, my body and facial features have already changed considerably since I began transition, and I wanted to maximise the time that my new passport would be useful, before I have to change the photos again.

The afternoon was devoted to two-wheeled mayhem! From the first time we met, David the director-cameraman seems to have been facinated by the idea that I combine my love of feminine finery with the urge to put on my leathers and ride my trusty steed Cruella whenever I can; to the extent that he wanted to get plenty of footage of me riding her, as well as ride pillion with me and shoot over my shoulder, along the side, and with the camera in front of me, pointing at my face while I rode (at speed, I might add). What a laugh! We spent a few hours doing that, and then I spoke on camera about what biking (and Cruella) mean to me, particularly in the context of my transition. It's probably just as well that the fading light finally put an end to filming; otherwise I'd probably still be talking.

Life's good; some days really stand out, though, and this was one of them.

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