Dylan. Lipstick, Powder and Paint #9

Another side to the personalities of these two Dylans. A bit of a sullen moment, perhaps?

We shot this one on two separate days. The light in that living room at around 4:30 in the afternoon was so bright, but I kind of like the way the outdoors was almost exposed out. I had to be careful of timing on this picture…it had to happen at the same time of day. I ended up having to brighten the window side of her face a bit, but I think it works pretty well.

Dylan. Lipstick, Powder, and Paint #8

This bathroom scene is one of my favorites. It is such an intimate thing, for two people who are in a relationship with each other to share a bathroom. During those routine moments, when you do what you do everyday…put on your makeup, shave…you are lost in your own thoughts. Yet you are aware that the one you love is right beside you. Fred and did these same things most every morning in this room. I think Dylan captured this moment beautifully. This photo makes me feel nostalgic.

Dylan. Lipstick, Powder and Paint #7

Before we had even finished our first photo session I knew exactly how I wanted to photograph Dylan. I wanted to play up both sides of his gender identity at the same time, in the same photograph, as though they were having a relationship with each other. This was such a fun project to do. I really enjoy playing around with photoshop, so this was a great way to play. I had seen other similar things done with photoshop and I thought Dylan would be perfect for this because he was such a great mixture of both these characters. One of my goals for this project was for Dylan to portray himself as either gender, in a very real and comfortable way. We really didn’t need to make up a name for the female character, because she was Dylan, too.

Of all the photos from this series, this one really makes me smile. I think Dylan completely nailed it with personality here. All these photos were done at the house where Fred and I lived in Nashville. So, I figured out what this couple would be doing in various parts of the house.  The female character was wardrobed from my closet.  Dylan just posed in whatever he had worn over to the house. We would shoot a couple of male characters one day, and the corresponding females on the next. Sometimes there would be a day or two between shoots, because Dylan was involved with school. We would work for about 3 or 4 hours, then go out to eat. Or, sometimes I would have something cooked. Fred would usually join us for dinner. It was such a joyful project.

Dylan. Lipstick, Powder, and Paint #6

I have posted an image of Dylan as Frida before from this same photoshoot. This one was not the original one I decided to use. When I looked again, I think this one is stronger. This is the last picture I took of Dylan. I took it the summer before this past one. Dylan got back from Los Angeles, and I got back from a long stay at the beach. That summer I was getting things ready for us to be gone for 6 months on our big Mexican adventure. I was pretty focused on that, and Dylan had a lot going on, too. One thing was a film that he was working on with his friend Bralyn Stokes, “Silas.” I spent some time with them around the movie, and I even had a walk-on part.Part of it was shot at our house. That was fun. I was cast as a woman in a bookstore, giving Dylan a dirty look because his character was making too much noise. If you get a chance to catch a showing of that movie, check it out.

Dylan and I did get some time  to act on one last idea of mine…to make him up and shoot him like Frida Kahlo. I was all about Frida after spending some time in Oaxaca, and Dylan was game for anything. As always, Dylan used his own hair, I did his makeup and I had a great Mexican dress for him to wear. Frida wore lots of jewelry, and loved flowers in her hair.

After we finished the shoot, which we did one afternoon, we went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. No, Dylan didn’t keep the dress on, but he should have. He did wear the makeup. I hadn’t heard from Dylan in a while, but this series of posts has re-connected us. He sent me one of the Marc Jacobs ads that he was recently featured in. Dylan is the gorgeous one on the right. With the legs.

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Dylan. Lipstick, Powder and Paint #5

Today I’m going to introduce you to one of the most interesting people I have had the joy of meeting, Dylan. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting Dylan, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend several weeks photographing him a couple of summers ago. I had gone to a Nashville Fashion Week runway show with…who else?…Arnold. This incredible looking model came down the runway with so much confidence and raw power that I was taken aback. Arnold leaned over to me and said, “That’s a dude.” Arnold told me that Dylan frequently models as a female. He certainly has the frame for it. And the face. I had to meet this person, and I did that very night. I was very pleased by how easy it was to pursue photographing him.

We agreed to meet before our first photoshoot for a Sunday lunch at blvd, and my friend Andrew Pentecost was way into doing the makeup for our first shoot. Dylan was great and I loved the photos. Between that time and the time he left around the first of July for Los Angeles to pursue his modeling career, we shot dozens (probably hundreds)  of photos. I have many more to show you. But, this first one is from our last session during that time period. I had been working hard on dramatic black and whites. I got some help from Dylan’s friend, Bralyn Stokes, whose photos I greatly admire. I loved so many of the photos I took of Dylan. And, I also loved spending time with him. After our first photo session, I ended up doing all of Dylan’s makeup. Andrew got very busy with his own work and became harder to schedule. And, to be honest, the challenge of doing the makeup really excited me. I had been watching Andrew work for a couple of years and was itching to get my hands into it. Andrew gave me detailed instructions, and I went for it. You’ll see what I did as we progress….the photos got more interesting as we moved from spring to summer.

Dylan is a person who simply won’t fit into any box that anyone tries to put him in. He is a true one-of-a-kind, comfortable in his own skin and very sensitive to the world around him. Beautiful no matter how he presents himself to the world. His favorite outfit that summer was cut off jeans (his # isn’t “Hooker Legs” for nothing), really tall heels (he’s about 6’2″ in his bare feet) and a little makeup. He doesn’t try to fulfill anyone’s idea of what gender identity should be. He is simply Dylan. And he really doesn’t care if you stare.

Another shot from this same session

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Seeing Double

I first saw Dylan Stephens modeling in women’s clothing on a runway show that was part of Nashville Fashion Week. I have enjoyed getting to know him, and photographing him. We did a series of photos using Dylan in a make-believe relationship between two people. Both the male and the female were Dylan. Dylan is a beautiful person who can be drop dead gorgeous as either gender. He has modeled both as a male and as a female. He is also a very fine actor, mostly recently appearing in a short film by Bralyn Stokes, “Silas.”