Loren Rex Cameron (August 28, 1959–November 18, 2022) was a pathmaking photographer, author, and transgender activist. His work is credited by many for its influence in bringing attention to the social and embodied realities of transsexual people. Two tribute events, in San Francisco and New York City, took place in July to honor the late artist. FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore shares a recap of the July 15 event at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in Lower Manhattan. Video recordings of both events are now available.
By: Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator
A standing-room-only crowd packed into the Images on Which to Build exhibition at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in Lower Manhattan, anticipating the second in a two-part symposium on the late Loren Rex Cameron. The first part had taken place the weekend before at SF Camerawork in San Francisco, where Cameron had lived, and was live-streamed to a remote audience. The July 15 event in New York drew a diverse, lively crowd, who turned out that Saturday night to hear friends and admirers of Cameron share their thoughts on the transgender icon’s life and art as a photographer.
Presentations ranged from personal tributes to academic treatises to poetic ruminations, each fleshing out different aspects of Cameron’s life and impact. Some of the most compelling commentary came from Cameron’s close friends, such as Tobaron Waxman, David Harrison, and Kate Bornstein, who shared personal anecdotes about Cameron’s attitudes toward art-making and working out, two of his most ardent pastimes. Bornstein, appearing via Zoom, shared a story of posing nude for Cameron and recounted, with perfect comic timing and affection, her extreme discomfort with the process and equally extreme displeasure with the results, but concluded that she’d have done anything for her beloved friend.
Curator Ariel Goldberg concluded the program by reminding everyone of the importance of bringing to light histories of historically marginalized groups and offering the spotlight to individuals, such as Loren Rex Cameron, to better understand our broad cultural inheritance. This was certainly a central objective of Images on which to build, 1970s–1990s as well.