LOS ANGELES—Art photographer Dave Naz, a familiar name to readers of Hustler's Barely Legal and Taboo magazines, is currently deep in the second part of a project dealing with the real lives of transgendered people—and, he told AVN, the work has taught him a lot about how personal identities can be, well, pretty personal.
"Part of the project is just kind of learning more about what it means to be transgendered, and in doing so, I learned that identities change, and they change quickly sometimes, and even the terms they use to describe themselves change," Naz told AVN. "But actually, the folks that I'm working with now are all transgender female, and that's all I'm focusing on right now, because I hope to make my photos of them into a book and have supplemental videos that kind of tell the stories of the people that I'm shooting. The video that's currently posted on my site with Eva Lin, Venus Lux and Riley Kilo, I think I also got lucky in that these are three people that really articulated well about their lives and their experiences, and so I just hope to continue that, and I have several portraits that go along with that in this trans series."
Naz is the author of several books, and his photography has been featured in several gallery shows—and this isn't even the first time Naz has viewed across the gender divide, with his book Genderqueer, a project incorporating photography with supplemental video interviews, to be published next year by Rare Bird Books/A Barnacle Book. That project, however, dealt exclusively with female-to-male transgenders "including but not limited to butch, boi, trans*, queer, FTM, Genderqueer, and masculine of center," according to his website.
"Buck Angel's been a friend for a long time and helped me quite a bit with both that project and this one, because he's friends with a lot of transgender females in the industry and is just an amazing person and an activist and I wouldn't have even gotten started on this project without his help," Naz said.
But the new project, simply called Trans, focuses on the opposite side of that coin: Male-to-female transgenders.
"People want to be identified," Naz stated. "They want their own identity, and that's kind of what makes the project interesting, I think."
One of the people who's been helping him is award-winning adult star Jiz Lee.
"I guess the questions I've been asking my subjects came from Jiz, and I'm just trying to tell their stories and just a little bit about them, just go a little bit into their lives and their transformation and how it affects them," he explained. "But yeah, basically it started out with portraits and I found some interesting stories there, and that's why I added the videos, to supplement, go along with the images."
However, he hopes viewers won't place too much stock in the fact that his first three interviews on the site are all of adult performers.
"I'm starting out in the industry because I wanted to shoot people that were already comfortable in front of the camera," he noted. "I'm shooting nudes too. None of it's sexual; it's mostly just portraits, but I didn't want to shie away—I think a lot of people, when they work on these projects, they tend to leave out the sex part, and I believe it's an important part of their lives, obviously, so I didn't want to leave it out, but I didn't want to make the whole thing about sex."
Naz said that once he gets three or four interviews done, he'll edit them and post the result on his Trans site.
"I've just been putting them out there so far to call attention to the project," he said. "I'm actively seeking models for this project, and I'm working to get the word out there because it'll help bring attention to this."