© Samantha Sutcliffe

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Samantha Sutcliffe

New York, New York

Artist Statement

Under the Shadows of is a collection of photographs and interview transcripts documenting a homeless trans female sex worker who de transitions and moves back to the suburbs to live with their family. This project is about A's struggle with gender identity, mental health and de transitioning. I found A through the craigslist personal ads while working on a story about sex work in Portland, Oregon. He introduced himself through email as a pre op male to female transgender sex worker on hormones for four years. A turned to sex work six years ago because he wanted to avoid being misgendered in the workplace. He does not fit inside the gender model that our society has constructed and as a result he feels closed off and lives in isolation. “It’s just harder to socialize because I’m not practicing human interaction when I’m just talking to myself and looking at myself on the webcam.” A relies heavily on the internet for clientele and income. He is constantly moving from one temporary living situation to the next. When I first met him he was living in a broken down garage on the outskirts of Portland. He had a blow up mattress, curtains for walls and no running water. Several months later he found a private bed and and bath in the suburbs of Beaverton. Last month he was pushed out on the streets and homeless for a two week period until he moved into a two bedroom apartment with three other people that he met on the street. After months of struggling financially and mentally A made the decision to stop taking hormones, return to his assigned gender and move back to his family's house in a suburb of California so that he could have a more stable home and work life. The project, shot over the course of three years, describes, visualizes and opens up the discussion on how society can isolate people who do not feel accepted and how isolation can effect mental health.

© Samantha Sutcliffe

Samantha Sutcliffe's Portfolio

© Samantha Sutcliffe

Artist Biography

Samantha Sutcliffe (1990) is an artist based in Queens, New York, whose work uses photography, writing, interviews and collaboration with subjects to create stories about isolation and mental illness in our society. Her portraits are raw and rooted in tradition. In 2020 she had a solo show at The Royal in NYC for The Vida Archive, a multidisciplinary art project about life in the suburbs based on her experience growing up in a family afflicted by mental illness. In 2018 she was a participant in the Mediterranean Photography Festival and received a Director’s Scholarship to attend the Documentary Practice Program at The International Center for Photography in New York City. Her book projects have been distributed internationally at the NY, London and Tokyo art book fairs by Oranbeg Press, Vuu Studio and The Indie Photobook Library as well as part of the collection at The Phoenix Art Museum and catalogued online by Self Publish Be Happy. Recent work has been on display in New York City at The International Center of Photography, The Royal Art Society, 77 Ludlow and SF Projects.



© Samantha Sutcliffe

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