Lissa Rivera, Motel, Virginia
Motel, Virginia
Lissa Rivera, Poolside, Family Home
Poolside, Family Home
Lissa Rivera, Study in Red and Yellow
Study in Red and Yellow
Lissa Rivera, My Swimsuit
My Swimsuit
Lissa Rivera, Experiment with Gels
Experiment with Gels
Lissa Rivera, Boudoir
Lissa Rivera, Male Impersonator
Male Impersonator
Lissa Rivera, Prospect Park
Prospect Park
Lissa Rivera, Bath
Lissa Rivera, Fur
Lissa Rivera, Lolita
Lissa_Rivera, Mirror with Jewels
Mirror with Jewels
Lissa Rivera, Metamorphosis
Lissa Rivera, Legs
Lissa Rivera, Venus
Lissa Rivera, All the Vogue
All the Vogue
Lissa Rivera, Courtesan I
Courtesan I
Lissa Rivera, Eggleston Hair
Eggleston Hair
Lissa Rivera, Back at University
Back at University
Lissa Rivera, Portrait with Symbols II
Portrait with Symbols II
Lissa Rivera, Object of Desire
Object of Desire
Lissa Rivera, Kitchen
Lissa Rivera, Black Corset
Black Corset
Lissa Rivera, White Carpet Odalisque, Family Home
White Carpet Odalisque, Family Home
Lissa Rivera, Braided Hair
Braided Hair
Lissa Rivera, Transition
Lissa Rivera, Spirit of the Rose
Spirit of the Rose
Lissa Rivera, Bathroom, Family Home
Bathroom, Family Home
Lissa Rivera, Motel, Virginia III
Motel, Virginia III
Lissa Rivera, Study in Red and Blue
Study in Red and Blue

Lissa Rivera writes: “‘Beautiful Boy’ is an ongoing series of photographs of my lover. It began as a confession between friends. On the subway one evening, my friend shared that he had worn women’s clothing almost exclusively in college, but after graduation struggled to navigate a world that seemed both newly accepting and yet inherently reviling of male displays of femininity. I thought that photography could provide a space to experiment outside of isolation. Taking the first pictures was an emotional experience, and I connected to his vulnerability. Over time he became my muse and eventually my romantic partner. Soon we began taking photos like addicts, setting up several shoots every weekend.

“When taking the photos, I feel the same as when viewing a film where a director and actress share a deep connection to the fantasy captured. It is thrilling to see my partner transform into countless goddess-like forms. The project is a canvas to project our desires. At times the images even become self-portraits. The camera transposes our private experiences into public expression.

“Often, I construct sets in my studio. Other times, I seek out locations that feel as if they are sets. I spend a lot of time conceptualizing the costumes, which I piece together from thrift shops, Ebay, and discount fabric outlets. I think it is important that the images not be seamless, but more like an assemblage where you can see the glue, revealing contemporary identity as a collage of the visual language of the past. Although I art-direct the images and come to each shoot with a strong aesthetic intention, my partner inhabits each costume and set in a thoughtful way, embodying the scenario with a sense of openness.

“It is important to show his femininity as strength. I want to feel empowered as well, and to have an intimate muse. Together we investigate feminine fantasies presented throughout the history of photography and cinema. The project is a way to ‘step-inside’ images that we have found alluring and examine what it is like to live each scenario out. We explore both our captivation and our ambivalence towards these depictions of femininity. By presenting my partner within the lineage of great beauties and populating the media with our images, we are reclaiming our voice in what is attractive and beautiful.”

Work by Lissa Rivera

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