Liz

I've decided to try an idea I've been kicking around, to make these blog posts more of an interview. I asked Liz a few questions, and what they sent back was so incredibly beautiful and perfect I've decided to just post it verbatim. I'm going to throw in my shameless plug tag now, and say if you want to check out the full set go back my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/hellapositive because backers get exclusive access to all the outtakes. Okay, plug over, everything that follows are Liz's words, unedited.

I'm agender and go by they/them pronouns, but my friends and I like to joke that my "true gender" is "cryptid" (my nickname is Lizard and the lizard person jokes happen often). My identity is queer. I'm demi-panromantic and asexual. Sometimes I'm sex positive, but only with people with whom I've had some sort of strong romantic feelings. Generally I'm sex-repulsed which throws off people as I love lingerie. But I generally view lingerie as something I enjoy outside of sexual contexts—I wear it because it makes me feel good, not for anyone else. I'm also extremely monogamous in all regards which seems to be on the way out, but I try not to let that discourage me from finding someone I can be with longterm.

What makes me feel sexy isn't something I've thought about much. I find that I feel the closest thing I can think to sexy when I'm looking into the eyes of someone to whom I've mutual desire and attraction. Beyond that, I've started to feel really beautiful without my makeup done and with my natural hair all over the place. I feel amazing when I don't wear a bra under my shirts. I think my brand of sexiness is being myself, for myself. I was bullied a lot growing up and had a lot of complexes about various parts of my appearance, but I've found that those are the thing I'm learning to love most about myself. Self-love and acceptance are beautiful. And I think beauty is what I feel more than sexy.

My favorite part of myself is my passion for everything I do, hobbies and otherwise. Comics, cosplay, LARPing, D&D, gaming, fashion, makeup, reading, art, design... but also my friends, my chosen family, and social and political activism. I'm an Angry Queer Intersectional Feminist Killjoy and I wear the title with pride.

Being agender and queer and femme is so important to me. Femme erasure and femme hate is far too common in the queer community. While I have androgynous days and alter my appearance to align with that as needed, it's important to me that femmes are acknowledged as valid and deserving of love and support. There is no one way to express queerness. Femme isn't weak. It's not conforming to patriarchal ideals. Femme is a powerful thing. I'm just as queer in lipstick as I am in combat boots—and I often wear both simultaneously.

 

I've a friend with a tattoo on her arm that says "Speak your truth" and I think that's the most important part of my life—living authentically. Having the freedom to be myself and be safe, affirmed, and loved. I'll keep working hard and speaking up so one day we may live in a world where we all truly feel we belong.

I fail to see how making one's body visible diminishes their worth and personhood—how it tarnishes their intellect or self-respect. It's a body. We all have one. I like mine a lot (apart from the occasional gender dysphoria-related feelings) which is something an insufficient number of people can say.

Olivia

This was such a fun shooting St Louis, Missouri. I got about three hours of sleep the night before, but it was totally worth it to catch the sunrise.

Olivia wanted to be a badass wild woman, and made her own outfit on top of doing her own hair and make up to complete the look.

We spent a lot of time with her hanging out in this tree, starting during twilight and catching the entire gorgeous sunrise, complete with fog on the grass and everything.

After the sun was well and truly up we changed locations to a different park, with a lot of rocks and small waterfall, and a pond to catch some fun reflections in.

These are just a few of my favorites from this shoot, the final set had over 40 images! If you wanna check out the rest, hop on over to http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Here's Olivia's story:

"Boys didn't like me because I was too skinny and rough around the edges. They weren't used to a girl who could play sports like them, run as fast as they could, and climb trees as high. I didn't tell them that it was because I ran away from beatings from the neighborhood kids, my parents, and four brothers, I just told them they'd be sorry if they messed with me. They were. Now I notice the disapproving glances at women who aren't soft and pliant like we are "supposed" to be. How I wished for so long I could be soft like those girls I see every day. The ones that make your heart melt by their sheer existence in space and time. Everyone loves those girls. But you can't unbeat leathered skin. Now I want to be nothing but me. I love me fiercely and I love my people fiercely because that's the only way I know how to love anything. If you've lost something dear, you know how that feels. I'm not afraid of my toughness anymore. Beauty happens to mean more than they told me it did, and even if it didn't, who cares? I am more than my beauty. I am a brilliant brain that will keep working long after my beauty is gone. "

Savannah

This is Savannah, a wildling and wandering soul just settling into a new home in the Bay Area.

We did the first half of our shoot at home, a rad af warehouse-turned-artist-co-op in Oakland, CA. We took this photo up in a lofted area right under a skylight. Not pictured, just out of frame: massive painting of a loaf of bread.

Things got weird when we went outside. We borrowed the dog from the neighbors.

When we were done at home we took a brief break to wander around the Mission, killing time until the sun got a little lower in the sky. Then it was on to the beach so Savannah could show off her Creature/Primal side.
 

These are a few of my favorite photos from our shoot, if you want to check out the rest take a peek at my Patreon!