Worth a Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here are a thousand words about pictures!

I was never fond of photography before I began cross-dressing. My memories had always seemed to be a sufficient record of my past; I saw no need to immortalize it on film. In retrospect, I suppose I didn't see any value in recording images of myself or my life as a guy. Subconsciously I must have known that that was not my authentic self.

An AOL dream babe
When I first started cross-dressing in the late eighties, I downloaded a lot of "pix" (short for "pictures") from AOL. Groups and personal web pages were not common on the Internet in those days so I had no way to learn more about the girls in the pix, much less any way to contact them. But I loved the pix. How I yearned to be as pretty and passable as those beauties—an impossible dream it seemed at the time. I was very jealous of girls who were phototgraphed boldly out in public places; if only I had the nerve! To this day AOL I keep wondering if I will ever run into one of those girls in real life, but I never have.

Curiously, I was uninterested in pix of transsexual girls. They're just like regular girls, I thought. What's the fun in that? Wasn't that a wonderfully enlightened attitude toward trans women? Wasn't it a remarkably dense attitude about myself, considering that I am now a fully transitioned trans woman?

Scanned Polaroid
I bought a Polaroid camera, the kind where the pictures develop by themselves, because I was embarrassed to think of people at a developing lab looking at my pix. Worse yet, I worried that they would be judged obscene (even though I never took naked pix) and they would turn them over to the police or the FBI!

A ghastly pic
In the millennium year I bought my first digital camera, which I still have, and I went nuts taking pix. Most were ghastly but every now and then I would get lucky and get a good one. Mostly I think I was trying to capture an image that showed me as truly feminine, truly passable, or truly sexy. When I look back at those old pix now, my reaction is Yikes! Did I really go out looking like that? And I was surprised when I got clocked?

A lucky pic
One reason taking pictures was great was because it was something to do while dressed. For many years I lacked the courage to go out in public en femme. I was literally "all dressed up with nowhere to go." Later I would go out to shopping malls or the movies but after a scary, thrilling hour or so it was back home to—what? Drinking, of course; trying on some other outfits, and taking pictures. (And a "happy ending," if you get my drift.) I started my personal web site and loaded it up with tons of pictures.

Out in public
As cross-dressing came to play a larger and larger part in my life, my presentation gradually got better and I began to develop the confidence to go anywhere and do anything en femme. My impossible dream of being pretty and passable had become my reality. I even had pictures of myself out in public to prove it. My photo collection was enhanced by contributions from two of my friends who are professional photographers, Jamie Faye Fenton and Annemarie St. John. Jamie Faye took my best picture ever, making me look like a high fashion model in a white vinyl dress and hat.

My hottest pic
Eventually, as faithful readers of this column know, I realized that I was transsexual and I transitioned. As I went through the transition process, I found that my interest in pix faded away. I suppose that once I became the woman I had tried to capture in pix, I no longer needed the validation of the pix themselves. Besides, I can just look in the mirror any time I want to see her.

My best pic ever
Another reason for my current disinterest in pix is that I am simply not stimulated visually any more. Maybe this is an effect of no longer having massive doses of testosterone surging though my system. Whatever the reason, I am no longer the least bit turned on pix of myself, pornography, the sight of a locker room full of women in their bras and bloomers, or of a bunch of naked men...I won't tell you where I see naked men! My tactile senses now dominate my libido. I've become foreplay girl.

These days I find taking pix to be a burden. I have to push myself to get a new pic a couple of times a year (which I want to do if for no other reason than to track my progress). Recently I even took my web site down to just a single page of pix.

That's only 850 words, but that's all I have to say about taking pix!

—Lannie Rose, 8/2004

Home .. Words index