“When you meet a human being, the first distinction you make is “male or female” and you are accustomed to make the distinction with unhesitating certainty."
-Sigmund Freud, “Femininity”
While watching a person performing in drag or cross-dressing, we allow ourselves to be collapsed in a world where the ideas and traits associated with men and women become conflicted. Sometimes the illusion is so great, we erase the boundaries of what it means to be masculine and feminine. And other times, the obvious differences highlight the way each perceives the other. The appearances dictate whether or not we classify the person as feminine or masculine, though both are costumes of the Archetypes called Man and Woman.
The Armorettes, who were so gracious to sit for me over the course of several months, are a Camp Drag troupe in Atlanta, Ga. This group of dedicated men is commited to raising money and funding for HIV and AIDS programs across the metropolitan Atlanta area. Each week, performers transform themselves into various personas to entertain an audience every Sunday at Burkhart's, a restaurant and bar in Midtown Atlanta. To date, The Armorettes have raised nearly two million dollars for HiV and AIDS programs.
Sara Hopkins is a documentary and fine art photographer in Atlanta, Ga. She is interested in how appearances reflect or distort identity; how gender, sexuality, and societal roles are related; and how people develop and perceive belief systems based on gender and class. Her work is primarily based in Georgia and the Southeastern region of the United States.
Sara received a bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Georgia in 2004 and began to work as a newspaper photographer shortly after graduating. For several years she traveled throughout the United States to gain perspective about people, while also working as a stringer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After deciding to settle in Atlanta, she accepted a position as a staff photographer at Emory University. In 2010, she began graduate studies in fine art photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and will begin the MFA studio program in photography at Georgia State University in the Fall 2012.
Using simple elements and formal techniques in her work "Costuming the Archetypes," she quietly encourages the viewer to consider their own conditioned perceptions about men and women while using the imagery to create dialogue about the relationship that exists between appearance, sexuality, and gender.
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