Tomoko Kikuchi, one of the most promising photographers in Japan, has witnessed the rapid changes in China’s society and social awareness while simultaneously exploring her own situation.
In her series, ‘I and I’ she focuses on the subject of transgender people in China. After graduating from art school in Japan she soon moved to Hong Kong, then in 1999 she moved her base to Beijing where she worked as a photographer, mainly for international magazines and also as a still photographer for movie with renowned film directors. She became friends with a transgender performer named Meimei, allowing her to enter into the private lives of the « Queens » and capture them on photography.
When they first met in 2005, China was not willing to accept transgender people. Many of them were scared of their families learning of their sexuality and had fled their homes in the country to travel to Beijing where they eked out an existence working in gay bars. A few years later, their position underwent a dramatic change, whereas they had once had to eke out a living, hiding in the fringes of society, the next generation were proud of their sexuality and strode boldly down the streets in women’s clothing. Tomoko Kikuchi had managed to enter into the underground society in Beijing, and in 2008 she travelled to Chongqing, following a «Queen » who had left Beijing and was now living there with the new generation of transgender... (Michiko Kasahara)