The beauty inside

I am not someone that has been stared at and called beautiful by strangers. People do not look at me and see me as who I am. First glances always lead to a double take and a look of disgust, anger and confusion. When people see me, they don’t attempt to change their perspective and see the beauty inside of me. This kind of experience, existing in a world that doesn’t believe that you have the right to do so, shows up in a lot of my work. Most of my life I have been told that the world is not Black & White, what if mine is?

© Takoda Paterson

Capture the everyday things

My name is Takoda Patterson, I am a Black Trans Woman who is known mostly for writing but I also am someone who tells stories through photographs. My work is usually published under my Instagram username :AmericanViewz. I primarily work with 35mm and medium format film and Ilford is my favorite film company. With their film stocks such as XP2 and Ortho Plus 80 I have been able to tell the stories that I want to tell those who see my work. I like to consider my work Environmental Landscapes because I capture what is there. It is not my goal to capture the most scenic photographs, it is to capture the everyday things that we see and pass everyday without second thought. In many ways, my work can be seen as different self portraits despite my physical body being nowhere in the photo.


Beautiful despite the ugliness

When capturing what I do, I am not only capturing what I see but what it feels like to be there in the location. My experience in most of the places that you see in my work physically are pleasing but are difficult to be in. Moving from California to Ohio has changed and challenged my view on what it means to be a person. Going from being asked about what camera I am using to questions about my genitalia, gender identity and, or blatantly threatened has not been an easy transition. In every photo, if you truly allow yourself to focus on it, you may be able to hear every racial and transphobic slur that I was called in the area. You will also still be able to see how I can still find an area beautiful despite the ugliness that comes around it.

© Takoda Paterson

My world is more than Black & White

There is a certain freedom that comes with going out to capture these moments despite the danger that comes after Gay, Black Trans Women like myself. By putting myself out into the world, I allow myself the chance to experience it. To live openly as myself is a protest of its own. I capture what I see as a way to remember to keep fighting for life when death is wished upon me in this war that has been waged against my existence and Ilford is my weapon of choice in this battle for liberation

© Takoda Paterson

I have been told most of my life that the world is not Black & White, I agree. My world is more than Black & White, there’s also shades of gray, metaphorically of course and I tell stories through photography in order to make peace with it. To me, finding that peace… that is the art of it all.

Images © Takoda Patterson