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Not only do they present the individuals in their personal space, but the photos capture the details of their subjects’ lives, from the contents of Hinayon’s purse (lip gloss, perfume, brushes, sunglasses and a makeup compact) to the array of shoes (slip-ons and lace-ups covered in everything from plaid to black leather) lined up in a wall in Ilano’s home.
It’s these details that create a complete and complex picture of identity.
Pacificar, a filmmaker, and Tuazon, a photographer, clearly treat their subjects with care and compassion.
“Their story is what starts the creative process,” Tuazon says.
“When he showed us his lyrics we just had to capture him singing the very song he wrote to get through his teen years.” The lyrics are heartfelt and emotional: “Year after year / growing into this fear / Kept me hoping / I’d make it to the other side / Year after year / drowned myself in my tears / but now I’m here / on the other side.” It’s the kind of thing a queer kid needs to hear, whether she’s a person of color or not. In one image, Hinayon walks stoically through campus, and in her handwriting she writes about being “bullied, harassed and discriminated [against] but I never gave up.” In another image, she stands in the middle of a crowded hall.
The images convey this so well: Many of the photos of Santos include her parents and her sister, from the jumping shot of her family suspended in mid-air, smiling, to a photo of her sitting next to her mother.“We always ask our subjects what it is that they want to share to others.” Each of the profiles highlights something particular to each of the individuals — in Ilano’s case, this particular spark “was music and it was natural to highlight that side of him,” Tuazon adds.Ilano’s profile is one of the two that includes video, in which he belts out a song he wrote himself “when he was trying to figure out who he was as a gay teen,” says Pacificar. What I really needed was someone to talk to, and someone to look up to, who understood what I was going through — race-related issues and all. 2/15/2012 – Spotlight: Simone Meltesen, by Laneia 10. I looked for queer people on Xanga to talk to, but that community wasn’t the kind I needed.