Lissa Rivera is a photographer based in Brooklyn, NY whose work has received multiple grants and honors and been exhibited internationally. "Beautiful Boy," Rivera’s latest project, takes her interest in photography’s connection with identity to a personal level, focusing on her domestic partner as muse.
Photo Description 1:
'Beautiful Boy' began when my friend BJ told me he had worn women’s clothing in university, but after graduation struggled in a world that seemed both newly accepting and yet inherently reviling of male displays of femininity. Taking the first pictures was an emotional experience, I connected to his vulnerability. Over time BJ turned from my muse into being my romantic partner as well.
Photo Description 2:
This image was taken in Venice, Italy. After working on 'Beautiful Boy' for nearly two years, BJ and I decided to seek out new adventures. 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. Although our emotional relationship is private and real, we perform a romanticism that is often obsessive and decadent.
Photo Description 3:
A few weeks ago, BJ and I traveled to California. I was looking to investigate both the celebration and ambivalence of the mythological
'California Girl' as seen in various films like ‘Valley of the Dolls.’ The images in the pink bedroom were inspired by Pricilla Presley who
honeymooned in Palm Springs. I always imagined her somewhat imprisoned in the decadent interiors that Elvis constructed.
Photo Description 4:
This is another image from our California shoot. Often, I construct sets in my studio, while other times I seek out locations that feel as if they are sets. I spend a lot of time conceptualising the costumes. I connect to depictions of femininity in photographs and films and then explore their potency by collaging the visual language of the past. The series can be seen as an exploration of desire.
Photo Description 5:
We took this photo in the High Desert. I was inspired by the unsettling switching of feminine identities in films like Altman’s ‘3 Women'. In our work, BJ is constantly shifting personas, at times switching with my own. When BJ wears my personal clothes and makeup the photograph becomes a double portrait of both of us. Although not my outfit, I imagine this is what the woman who lived here wore.
- Lissa Rivera