Tag Archives: Photo Session

To Be Trans: Charlie and Roman

K: Hi friends! First, let’s tell the readers a little about yourself!

C: [I’m] Charlie Manzano (he/him), I like to make zines and watch the Great British Bake-off. I run the Young Adult Facial/Bodily Difference and Disfigurement Network, as well as co-run the Transgender Cancer Patient Project and the Sick and Disabled Zine And Craft Fair. Most of my work centers healthcare activism and community.

R: [I’m] Roman Ruddick (they/them),- I love to live and work with animals, eat yummy food, and make art! Most of my art during quarantine has been boba themed (current yummy obsession), but typically I enjoy making art and zines related to cancer, healthcare, and gender. I co-run the transgender cancer patient project and the sick and disabled zine and craft fair, and participate in other community art and health related activism.

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K: Thanks so much for these intros! I love hearing more about you both! Here are some questions for you… [first off], how did you two meet?

R: We met on Tumblr! Charlie started a “transgender cancer support” blog and [I] was his only follower. Embarrassing. lols.

K: What do you do for work and how are you involved with your community?

C/R: Neither of us are working right now due to COVID-19, but outside of work we are involved in community organizing. We run the Transgender Cancer Patient Project and just co-organized the Virtual Sick And Disabled Zine and Craft Fair!

Oakland Pride by Katherine Elyse Photography 1

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K: Tell me more about the TCPP and the Fair! How did you come up with the ideas and why are they important to you?
R: Charlie and I started the Transgender Cancer Patient Project because it was very apparent to us that cancer resources (and the healthcare system as a whole) were not created with trans people in mind, so we hoped to change that by creating resources and buliding community based on our own experiences as transgender cancer patients.
C:  The Transgender Cancer Patient Project was created by Roman and I in search of community and resources, as trans cancer patients ourselves. There wasn’t much out there for trans patients, especially created by us, which is why we felt that it was so important to bring this project into fruition.

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K: Have you ever heard of a story about a trans person facing discrimination in your state, or have you personally been discriminated against for your sexual orientation or gender identity?

C/R: I think that most trans people have faced discrimination in their life. It’s hard to keep count, or really narrow down to just one experience for me personally.
K: Describe your support system.
C: My support system is definitely my family, my partner, and my friends.
R: My support system is mostly Charlie and his family since I live with them and have gone through quite a bit with them.
K: Roman, would you be interested in expanding on your choice to live with Charlie’s family or the reason for/impact that has had on you?

Roman: I moved in with Charlie and his family after we were both accepted into SFSU last year. I was living in Oregon at the time, and since we had been dating for over a year and wanted to be closer to each other anyway, it just really worked out for me to come here for school. It’s been great to feel so easily accepted into the family.

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K: Are there any defining moments in your journey you’d like to share?
Roman: Not particularly, lots of ups and downs for sure!
Charlie: I think that we’re constantly learning and growing, and so it’s hard to point to specific moments which I think have mattered the most — they all have. Every time I meet someone through our project or support network, I have a new favorite moment, and a new favorite person I want to lift up.
K: How have your friends and family supported you in your journey?
Roman: This is a hard question to answer because life seems to change so drastically so often.
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K: What are some common misconceptions you’d like people to have a better understanding of in regarding trans folks?

Roman: Probably that there are more of us than they think there are. People that don’t know me very well will make comments about gender stereotypes or about trans people all the time, working off the assumption that there are none around, or that trans people are some kind of anomaly. But this isn’t true, trans people are everywhere.

K: Any advice on how to be a good ally to the trans community?
C/R: A lot of the work that we do is on creating environments that reflect different experiences, bodies, and identities. A big recommendation from us is to think critically about the steps being taken to make something more inclusive: are these steps exceptions to a rule that centers the exclusionary system in place, or are the rules being changed to include more people fundamentally? For example, making sure that trans people won’t be denied care at a “women’s health clinic” is good, but given the fact that not only women seek the services available there, how about changing the title of “women’s health clinic” to something gender neutral? To take it even further, questioning how and why these “gendered” services are separated in the first place, and how it impacts all people, can help us understand that these health spaces really can, and should, be re-imagined with every body in mind. Re-imagining systems for the purposes of inclusion, not just on a surface level, is something that we need more allies to be thinking about and advocating for.

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K: Are there any causes that are particularly important to you that you’d like to shout out?C/R: Yes! Black Lives Matter! Black trans lives matter! Black cancer patient’s lives matter! Racial justice and representation is also severely lacking in healthcare and cancer spaces and we need to uplift Black and Black trans voices on these subjects whenever we can.
K: Anything else you’d like to add? 
C/R:  Check out our social media to learn more about what we do @transcancerzine!
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May Fourth

Today is a special day. Not for any reason big and popular or having to do with Carrie Fisher (though I have to admit, I think she’d approve of my day). No, dear friends… today is my dog’s birthday. And I am excited beyond comprehension to combine my love for my little moo-pig and my love for Star Wars into one amazingly fun first birthday shoot.

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FIRST, STORY TIME: If you’ve met my dog, you know the depth of her ridiculous personality and the extent to which she will embarrass me in order to shove herself between your legs for butt scratches. She’s a frikkin’ 85 pound hunk of true love and affection. She’s god-damn ridiculous.

Denis and I got Max last summer on a pure coincidental whim. We’d (I’d) been taking about getting a dog forever and we (I) finally found a little ad on Craigslist for puppies that were nearly 8 weeks old. The owner’s dog and their neighbors’ dog had accidentally gotten together and this was to be their first (and last) litter of puppies. Even Denis couldn’t resist the temptation after seeing all their smiling faces and waggy tails! We went o check them out and, after choosing one originally and then backtracking, we landed on Max.

We knew we wanted to name our dog Max and were a little surprised when we chose a girl, so our little pup went from Max to Maxine. She shook the entire car ride home, nestled in my lap, barely the size of a football. She was ADORABLE. Denis’s mom cried when we brought her home (it was so cute) and from that day on she was my fur baby for all time.

I’ve worked with other people’s kids and I grew up with many animals, but I’ve never loved anything as purely and deeply as I love Max. Now, I recognize (kind of) that it’s not comparable to having children (or so some people say), but I would honestly give an arm and a leg and the rest of me to her if it would make her smile her goofy little dog grin. When she runs down the hall when I get home and wags her entire body, not just her tail, every bit of stress from my day instantly evaporates. She is pure joy personified into one fuzzy lovable package. Sometimes it’s honestly too much. I don’t feel worthy of it because, as I’m sure you’re all aware, NONE OF US are worthy of dogs.

So, today is her birthday and I wanted to celebrate. I’ve shot a lot of cake smashes, tinsel towers, snuggle sessions, and family huggles but I am yet to shoot a Star Wars themed, partner duo, dog-and-person birthday adventure. Today with some good timing, a little luck, and a fabulous friend/assistant I was able to create a little bit of fantasy out of my fantastic reality with my little shmoo.

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The photos may not be award winning in nature, but our special friendship is forever captured. I love my four legged monster, my licky-doodle, the baby Chewy Wookie to my Han. Happy first birthday Max. I frikkin’ love ya.

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Amanda and Andrew {2017}

In honor of this gorgeous mama-to-be surpassing her due date by a FULL WEEK, I wanted to get this amazing snowy Tahoe maternity session up on the blog!

(It’ll give you something to read when you go into labor Amanda! lol)

Amanda and I met at a bridal show in Berkeley in February. I know her fiance through some other friends so when she bounded up to me belly first at the wedding show I knew exactly who she was and I was ecstatic to finally meet her in person! We talked a lot about what they wanted from their photos and ultimately decided that the one thing that HAD to have was snow. Luckily I was already Tahoe bound near the end of February so we made some plans and were off to the races shortly after!

After avoiding deadly driveway ice (which nearly took Andrew out in Stooge-worthy comedic glory) and three foot deep pockets in the snow (which I promptly sunk right into) we made it to a beautiful grove of trees to shoot.

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Amanda was worried about how she looked, like a lot of nearly-new-mom’s with bodies they don’t feel quite at home in, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful model if I tried. She was calm and relaxed, enough so that she let me snap some subtle sexy shots between outfits in the 28 degree chill. She was an absolute rockstar! All the while Andrew (a photographer, by the way) was looking at the back of my camera “ooh-in” and “ahh-ing” over my captures of his wifey in all her motherly glory. I could not have dreamt up a more perfect shoot!

 

 

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Of course, not every photo turns out the way you want it, but this series of images from an attempted hair flip added an extra layer of hilarity and joy to their photos.

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In the end, the sun went down right behind this big beautiful pine tree and soon after this popsicle frozen mama bear was whisked away by dad to the warmth of their Tahoe cabin for some relaxation after an incredible shoot.

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Congratulations to Amanda and Andrew, I can’t wait to meet Calliope! Cheers! ❤

Fall Mini Sessions are here!

FALL MINI SESSIONS now open for booking with availability on SATURDAY OCTOBER 29TH and SUNDAY OCTOBER 30TH! Plenty of morning sessions available both days and limited golden hour sessions on Saturday evening!

Sessions include:
-30 minutes of super fun photography time at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek
-Two adorable and distinctly different prop sets to work within
-Gorgeous natural rustic backdrops (trees, fields, pond, etc.)
-Every single one of your session images hand edited within 4 weeks
-A beautiful, sharable, and fully downloadable online gallery of all your images
-Full print release of every single one of your perfected images

Session fee is $225. Contract and retainer required to book.

These mini sessions are perfect for Halloween photos, holiday cards, or just updating your family photo gallery! Message me on Facebook or email me at katherineelysephotography@gmail.com to book your slot now! ❤

**Be awesome; BOOK, LIKE, & SHARE**