Third Shoot, Update, and Sound

Third shoot successfully completed. Colter was able to drive out after work tonight. It went really well and I got a lot of great shots of him and also an honest and personal audio interview. I’m excited to develop the film this week and get a transfer made. Colter’s interview tonight got me thinking of sound design and how I want to piece together the interview material. It reminded me of a few of Bresson’s notes on sound:

o “Model. Thrown into the physical action, his voice, starting from even syllables, takes on automatically the inflexions and modulations proper to his true nature.” – Notes on Cinematography, pg. 16

Colter’s voice really came through in his audio interview and showed a lot about his true nature. At first he talked quietly, but after warming up to the sound of his own voice he really said some profound and intimate things about his experience as a trans identified man and the difficulties and also the beauty of being who he is.

o “Music takes up all the room and gives no increased value to the image to which it is added.” – pg. 21

In terms of sound design I’ve been thinking a lot about music and what I want to do with the music I’ve recorded. A lot of what Bresson says about music is pretty much that it is better to go without, to let the image speak itself. I would agree, but I do think that music can add a feeling rather then increase value of the image. Because I want the focus to be on the image of the subject and the subject’s voice, I’m going to really keep the music to a minimum. That being said, I do want to use the long low droning notes the Joe played to support the words and the feeling of the film, rather than take away and distract from the image.

o “Image and sound must not support each other, but must work each in turn through a sort of relay.” – pg. 28

With my sound design I’d like to really make the voice concise and pointed with the music coming in and out of audible range. I’d like to achieve this sort of “relay” with the image and sound, each taking their turn as the focus of attention for the audience. The image is already very intensely personal and so are the words, so I’d like for the audience to not miss anything- to really be engaged in both simultaneously as they take turns. I want both image and sound to support the personality of the subject and give them a sense of agency, realness, and naturalness. I want to display their unique laughs, smiles, quirks, and modulations of their voice.

This week I’ll be working on editing the audio interviews and picking out pieces that I want to use. I’m going to start overlaying them with the music and I’ll get a better idea of what I’m working with as far as mood/vibe and also content. Next week I’ll post the first audio soundscape project.


Thoughts and Notes on Second Shoot

Yesterday I completed the second shoot. I shot one roll of ORWO UN-54 and got an audio interview with Finn. He drove from Denver despite the snow storm. It was a great learning experience and we had a good time getting to know each other while photographing. Though we talked about different things we could do as far as shooting, he wanted / needed more direction than I was giving him. I attempted to get shots of him in his natural state, not acting. It reminded me of Robert Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography and his notes on directing and acting.
o  “No actors. (No directing of actors). No parts. (No learning of parts). No staging. But the use of working models, taken from life. BEING (models) instead of SEEMING(actors).” -pg 1
I didn’t want Finn to feel like a model or an actor and I didn’t want him to feel like he was “posing” for the camera. Rather I tried to keep conversation going with him and keep him feeling comfortable and I wanted to really highlight his personality, which is lively and fun. He is a very talkative, funny, and direct person, so I took a lot of shots of him smiling because this is when his eyes really stood out to me. I tried to keep this quote in mind while shooting:
o “Model. The spark caught in his eye’s pupil gives significance to his whole person.” -pg 44
I kept my eyes on his eyes and I only really shot when his eyes were radiating outward. Like I said it seemed to happen when he was smiling or laughing, but also I got intensity from his eyes when he was staring into the camera. Though I only got one roll, I only shot when I got the “go ahead” in my gut and in my vision. I felt like one roll was enough to capture what I wanted and I’m just hoping that processing goes smoothly and the exposures were right. I will process the roll on Wednesday and post the results.
Today I recorded again with Joe Braun. It was a raging success and I really like how he was filling the space with harmonics but still keeping the sound minimal. There is a lot of movement in the piece and I think that it will cut well with the audio interview material. The full track can be heard here on soundcloud: 

Footage From First Shoot, Music Test, Treatment, Stills, and Bibliography

music / sound recording test:

Documentary Treatment

Working Title: Dysphoria | Euphoria

Five AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) trans* people with dysphoria, re: chests will be photographed and interviewed in order to create unique, intimate, and empowering black and white portraits. Each portrait will be directed stylistically by the participant being photographed in order to give them a voice in how their section of the film is portrayed and how the finished product will look. A fast 16mm film stock (ORWO UN-54 and UN-74) will be used in low lighting situations and pushed in the developer in order to create a grainy and textured appearance. Participants will stand in front of simple backgrounds with options for utilizing props or mirrors in various ways. Experimental processes such as mono-flex, reticulation, deterioration, and toning will be used in the different sections to enhance certain aspects of the frame and the individual being photographed. Each section will have a similar look because they will all be shot with the same film stock and will, at least for a moment have the individual who is being photographed stare into the camera. Each section will have a different look depending on how each person would like to be photographed and which experimental process or processes are taken to the film. The goal is for each section to look visually cohesive together, but also have diverse editing rhythms, moods, and feelings that relate to the personalities of the individual being portrayed. The audio will contain an original musical score that will be extremely minimalist and audio interviews of each of the five individuals. The interviews will ask each person what the experience of being photographed was like, how they identify, and how they feel in relation to their bodies and specifically to their dysphoria.

Stills:Untitled 12 Untitled 16 Untitled 15 Untitled 14 Untitled 13 Untitled 11 Untitled 10 Untitled 9 Untitled 8 Untitled 7 Untitled 6 Untitled 5 Untitled 4 Untitled 3 Untitled 2 Untitled


More Real Than Reality Itself. Dir. A. L. Steiner and Vanessa Haroutunian. 2014.

Night and Fog. Alain Resnais, 1955.

Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen. Dir. Kourtney R. Ziegler. Independent, 2008. Online Download.

Tarnation. Dir. Jonathan Caouette. By Jonathan Caouette. Prod. Stephen Winter. Wellspring, 2004.


Bresson, Robert. Notes on Cinematography. New York: Urizen, 1977. Print.

Carson, Anne. Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera. New York: Knopf, 2005. Print.

Haynes, Felicity, and Tarquam McKenna. Unseen Genders: Beyond the Binaries. New York: Peter Lang, 2001. Print.

Murch, Walter. In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing. Los Angeles: Silman-James, 2001. Print.

Noble, Jean Bobby. Masculinities without Men?: Female Masculinity in Twentieth-century Fictions. Vancouver: UBC, 2003. Print.

Noble, Jean Bobby. Sons of the Movement: FtMs Risking Incoherence on a Post-queer Cultural Landscape. Toronto: Women’s,    2006. Print.

Seidler, Victor J. Man Enough: Embodying Masculinities. London: SAGE Publications, 1997. Print.

Sennett, Jay. Self-organizing Men: Conscious Masculinities in Time and Space. Ypsilanti: Homofactus, 2006. Print.

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women. New York: W. Morrow, 1991. Print.

Weekly Update 02/08

I have some new develops in the project, though, I’m still working on getting participants for upcoming shoots. Tonight I am working on the budget, which I will post once finished. Last Wednesday I processed two rolls of film, one roll of UN-54 and one roll of UN-74. They both turned out with image and I got them transferred. I will pick up the transfer tomorrow and post the results. I’m going to edit them both down to 50′ rolls and then make a contact print onto 7302 (hi-con) print stock, which I will then put in the developer only, then mask with tape and then do a reversal process, remove the tape and then put in the fixer. This experimental process is known as mono flex. After doing this, I will have a better idea of the work flow and what the image is going to look like. I have also contacted some participants this week and also have gotten a collaborator for music/sound design: Joe Braun. He and I will meet and discuss the project and record a sound piece next weekend. Things are moving along, and the production is well under way in the coming weeks.

Media Research Continued

“The human body is a statement- it says here I am, this is the physicality of my genetic blueprint for existence- I am a unique collection of cells manifesting themselves in this particular physical and psychological form. You can see me- I am real; you can touch me- I have substance; you can speak to me and I will respond- I hear you; and you hear me. So I now call upon you to hear my voice as I tell you the story of my body, which is me, and my search for a place where I can exist.” -Delphine McFarlane, Unseen Genders

First Shoot 01/31: Chavez and I shot one roll of ORWO UN-54 to push 1 stop and one roll of ORWO UN-74 to push 2 stops. I will hand process the negatives this week and post the results. We used a solid black backdrop, a chimera light kit for the UN 54 and candle light for the UN 74. Here is a still from this weekend’s shoot taken with an i-phone through the lens of the bolex:

forrest in bolex cropped

Location Scouting:

Hail Valley Ranch

Gold Hill

Mood / Vibe and Photographic Influences:

Pinterest Board:

Music / Ambience / Sound: 

Historical Research:

Male Breasts- Gynaecomastia

One of the unexpected changes that can happen to boys during puberty is that their breasts can start to grow. This is a common and normal part of development of males, but it is rarely talked about and it can cause a lot of worry.

One of the unexpected changes that can happen to boys during puberty is that their breasts can start to grow. This is a common and normal part of development of males, but it is rarely talked about and it can cause a lot of worry.

About 65% of normal healthy 14 year old males have some breast tissue. It is caused by the hormones that lead to the other changes of puberty.

During puberty boys often demand privacy so parents may not see the changes, and their son may be quite unwilling to let them know. Boys probably will not be able to talk with their friends about it either, and they can be very worried about it, wondering if they have cancer for example, or whether they are not normal boys.

  • Gynaecomastia (guy-nee-co-mas-ti-a) is the medical term for breast tissue growing on a male.
  • Many very young male babies have some breast tissue due to hormones from their mothers, but this usually goes away within a few weeks. Baby girls often have this also, and their breasts flatten too in a few weeks.
  • Breast tissue growth (‘man boobs’) for older males can be caused by using some drugs such as anabolic steroids, other health problems, or by medicines that are needed to treat some health problems. Overweight men can have ‘man boobs’, but these are due to fat deposits, not to growth of breast tissue. These are not the cause of breast tissue growth for young men around puberty.

Full article here:

Male Breasts- Steroid usage

Steroid abuse disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body, causing both reversible and irreversible changes. Changes that can be reversed include reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy). Irreversible changes include male-pattern baldness and breast development (gynecomastia) in men. In one study of male bodybuilders, more than half had testicular atrophy and/or gynecomastia.

Full article here:

Male Breasts- Transgender, Transsexual, Trans*, and/or Non-Binary Bodies:

Quotes / Words / Literary Influences: I am very influenced by poetry and poetic form

“A poem can act as a spell & vice versa–but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature–it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.” – Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski IMG_0606 IMG_0593 IMG_0597 IMG_0598 IMG_0599 IMG_0601

Decreation, Anne Carson “If your defense is perfect after all it was the trees that walked away. / If objects are not solid. / If objects are much too solid. / If there are no faces, if faces are not what you interrogate. / If red makes you think of chance or what chance operates with. /  If red is the color of art pain.”

IMG_0611 IMG_0613

Self-Organizing Men: Conscious Masculinities in Time and Space

IMG_0616 IMG_0615 IMG_0614

Literary and Photographic Theory:

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography: “The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.”

“Ultimately — or at the limit — in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. ‘The necessary condition for an image is sight,’Janouch told Kafka; and Kafka smiled and replied: ‘We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.”

“Shut your eyes and see” – James Joyce, Ulysses

Gender Theory, Queer, and Feminist Texts:

“As long as we feel insecure as human beings about our bodies, we will very likely be anxious or hostile about other body-persons obviously racially or sexually different from our own embodied selves. Thus, the most dehumanizing spoken expressions of hostility or overt violence within racist and/or sexist experiences are often linked with depreciating the body or body functions of someone else.” – Toinette M. Eugine, While love is unfashionable: Ethical implications of black spirituality and sexuality

Other Quotes:

“Bodies have their own light which they consume to live: they burn, they are not lit from the outside.” – Egon Schiele

“These are the ruins / I mapped onto my body so I might always be lost.” -Traci Brimhall

“I like how you remember things,’ I say. / She looks at me. ‘Well, we have to. We have to remember everything. If we don’t, by the time we grow up it’ll be gone for ever.” – Isaac Marion

“I’m a fountain of blood. In the shape of a girl.” -Björk

Films that Influence and Inspire Me:

Black & White / Noir et Blanc, 16mm, Raphael Bendahan

Will O’ The Wisp, Andrew Kim:

Sill Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen (Ziegler 2008)

My documentary film from last year. It is the same film stock I will be using and the same style of voice over / audio interview. Transfiguration, 16mm

Influences, Stylistic Approach, etc.



Wang-Image-3 mammogram, breast tissue- i like the aesthetic look of x-rays 1365029905 francesca woodman REMOVE-by-rey1267 a possible ideaJClinImagingSci_2012_2_1_9_94021_u1 another x-ray 3831608 another woodman- i like the positive and negative mirroring of the image. i also like the way in which the body looks somewhat foreign or alien. 0a0e2975b95365a67c0087890c120463 i love this image, it captures the spirit of the film and also this is the size shot that i am going for: medium shot from bottom of the chin to the navel. I am not sure whether or not I will include faces. It depends on what the participants / subjects of the film are okay with.

man-in-shadows-with-hat-and-mustache i like the way the shadow conceals his face and creates ambiguity of the subject

still_black This is a still from Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen by Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler. I like the way in which the background and subject interact in this scene, yet the background isn’t distracting.

fran4_1762415i FrancescaWoodman4-1

More Francesca Woodman photographs. I love the background, the space, the feeling of the space, the movement within the space, and the way that the subject is both immersed in the space, but also alien to it. I’m considering using mirrors and the subject looking at themselves while we look at them. This enhances the voyeuristic aspect, but also addresses the way in which the subject must look at themselves and through the act of looking, reconcile with their body to some capacity. This documentary is a lot about looking at something taboo or forbidden, something that is thought of as embarrassing: men with female looking breasts, and them being seen by the apparatus of the camera, and also by themselves.

this is a Huffington post article about Clarity Haynes, a painter who paints images of nude bodies that are unconventional, or in a sense a more realistic portrayal of what bodies actually look like:


When you search for black and white photography, male bodies, this is what you get:

Jill Mettler Photography perfectly sculpted, white, able-bodied, and youthful

You don’t get this:

Thomas-Beatie picture-25

Non-binary bodies are beautiful too, but our culture suppresses positive images of them, makes them taboo, or something to laugh about. This is where the title Moobs comes in. It is the commonly used slang word for Man Boobs. It is supposed to be funny, and thus, naming the documentary Moobs sets up the audience to expect something comedic, and then, upon watching it realize that they were wrong in thinking that it would be funny, and questioning the way we use language and images to attack people who do not have conventional, binary, or typically thought of as conventionally “sexy” bodies in our compulsory heterosexual culture.

this site is an interesting look on how moobs effect cis gendered men and ways to possibly get rid of them. It assumes that they are undesirable and also laughable or embarrassing.

this is a photographer that did a project similar to mine, but different stylistically. portraits of trans men from different walks of life, ethnicity, and sexual orientations

other men project is another project working on compiling images of trans men

monoflex 6 these are stills from my film last semester, this is the process i will be doing- it is called mono flex. masking the image creates both a negative and a positive on a single frame  monoflex 3 forrest still 4 these are more stills, from a different film stock, the film stock i will use for the Moobs documentary. It is called ORWO UN-74. It is a super fast film stock that is really grainy, especially when shooting in low light and “pushing” the film in the developer for a longer amount of time, like these two images have been forrest still 8

This is my film from last semester. 0:50-1:30 is a clip that shows the technique that I will be further exploring and the way in which it is animation created through chemical processing. The movement of the material that was placed on the frame has it’s own energy to it, as you can see in the clip.

I want audiences to find their own punctum within the film, something that captures them, an element that I as the photographer cannot control. A description of the punctum from Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: “The second element will break (or punctuate) the studium. It is not I who seek it out (as I invest the field of the studium with my sovereign consciousness), it is this element which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me.”

I want to connect with the subjects and through photographing them, bring out something unique in them, like Robert Bresson says: “The thing that matters is not what they show me but what they hide from me and, above all, what they do not suspect is in them.” – Robert Bresson, Notes On Cinematography

Information for Potential Participants

I am seeking participants: any persons who self identify as men or masculine gender identity, of any age, race, or creed. I am seeking people to participate through an audio interview, be a subject to photograph, or both.

Participants can choose to remain anonymous or have their names / pseudonyms appear in the ending credits. I will choose participants based on their experiences and conciseness of the audio or visual material in attempt to provide a diverse variety of ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender expressions. The only stipulation will be that they identify as men- whether this be transgendered men (ftm), cisgendered men, or masculine spectrum identified. Genderqueer applicants will be considered under the knowledge that the title of the film is Moobs: Men and Their Breasts, and that the participant will more or less be grouped into the category of “men,” though they will be free to self identify as otherwise in their audio interview. This is not to exclude or erase the genderqueer or trans* identities, but to more concisely portray the intended purpose of the film, which is to discover how men and masculine identified peoples feel about their breasts and subsequently their bodies as a result of having or having had a typically secondary sex characteristic of natal female persons.

Applicants must understand that they may or may not be included in the final cut of the documentary film. There are many reasons artistically, technically, or otherwise why their material(s) may not be used. Applicants must also understand that all materials used will remain property of the filmmaker and producer, while knowing that the filmmaker will be respectful of applicants requests for how the material will be displayed or if they decide that they no longer want the material to be displayed.

If successful, Moobs will be an intimate portrayal of the bodies and lives of people that may not have had their voices heard otherwise because of stigmatization or marginalization. It will be a process both emotionally and psychologically for crew, participants, and audiences alike.

If you are interested in participating or interested in being part of the crew, please email Forrest at Please include your name, in what ways you are interested in participating, and your basic contact information such as email and phone number.