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Since I was a child, I had this fascination for beauty pageants, especially pageant crowns, their symbols and meanings, their beauty, and the variety of them in different cultures. I have previously been portraying transvestite and transgender beauty queens in Muxe culture and was struck by their obsession with becoming a beauty queen. This series is a sequel of I WANT TO BE A QUEEN, however they are more introspective and conceptual images where the play of colors, fabrics, shapes, imagination and mystery seduces us.
Behind the fabrics and shapes are hidden stories of life, longing, and fantasies in which all of us at some point in our lives have dreamed of.
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This project started ten years ago when I started photographing my culture in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. During that period, I already knew my sexual orientation, however I rejected the idea of becoming a Muxe.
The Muxes of Oaxaca are considered the third gender in Mexico, they do not define themselves as homosexuals, they have surpassed this idea. They are rather considered to be a mixture between both genders, and in a constant search for beauty.
They are accepted by society, it is said that for a family it is a blessing to have one Muxe at home, because they are hardworking and care for their parents when they get older.
In my photographic journey, I started documenting their day-to-day life, doing portraits of them in their homes and in their jobs, however with the pass of time, the project became very personal and exciting. I started to establish a special relationship with them. I started to become their buddy, in order to get into their dreams and fantasies. At the same time, I try to identify my own sexual identity and identify where do I belong in that fascinating and sensual world of the Muxes.
During the years that I have been photographing the Muxes, in my imaginary, I wanted to look at those scenes in which they starred in scenes of love and seduction with their lovers in hidden places like the river or in the field. I sought to enter the forbidden of what they do but not say, to explore the interaction and movement of their bodies, their energies using visual and contextual resources, such as certain intimate places, to produce disturbing uncomfortable, but exciting images that at times question ourselves.
About the artist
Nelson Morales was born in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca. He studied in his town until high school, then moved to the city of Oaxaca to study communication sciences at the José Vasconcelos University (UNIVAS). For nearly eleven years he has devoted himself to photography. His work focuses mainly on sexual diversity and identity.
He has studied different workshops and programs specialising in contemporary photography. He has held several individual and collective exhibitions across the world.
You can discover more of his work via the links below.