Natsumi / ,

“A veiled body cannot produce a candid heart. Is this the truth? This variant of the legend that Plato gave his lessons while walking because, according to him, a spirit could not move if the body remained motionless is MY truth. Very early in the COVID-19 pandemic, I lost everything…except my naturist/natural form; 3 years later, I am relatively at the same stage, but with greater peace of mind. Unable to wear a mask, both literally and figuratively, I embrace my extreme candor, even if it means shocking with my scars or “outing” myself as an unoperated trans person…or simply shocked because I’m naked.. In a world where I have been forced to completely reinvent myself, I fiercely embrace this truth that I have cherished more timidly since my teenage years and allow myself to quote the French singer (born in Quebec) Mylène Farmer in claiming that it is naked that I learn virtue.”

Natsumi shared their story with the project ‘Out of the Shadows’ by photographer Chris Lau. This series sheds light on people living on the margins of society. Paying homage to Diane Arbus who saw those that would otherwise go ignored, this social documentary portrait series captures people in all their authenticity: their defiance, vulnerability, awkwardness and sensuality. Living in the shadows doesn’t imply living on the periphery of society, nor does it mean we are the minority. We are many who share a common, yet distinct, experience of “othering”. Once we realize our commonality, we are, in fact, the majority and at the very center of society.

Life often leads you down unexpected roads. From being an architectural technician to a social worker and, now, a photographer and visual artist. Perhaps we’re meant to constantly evolve as human beings. 

Each of my professional careers inform the others, giving me a unique perspective on life and about people. My attention to detail and sense of perfection, my humanism and compassion, my ethical values, as well as my desire to deliberately not fit into social norms or visual standards define who I am.
I believe photography has the power to change people’s attitudes and people’s lives. I don’t aim to solely create beautiful images; I aim more so to create impactful ones. I aim to bring out people’s authenticity. I aim to document the world as it truly is, through my anti oppressive lens.

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