Lissa Rivera is a visual artist and photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. In her latest project, “Beautiful Boy”, Rivera explores the evolution of gender identity and what femininity can mean from a male perspective. The artist’s domestic partner, BJ Lillis, acts as the subject and personal muse in this three-part photo collection.
It was Rivera’s mission to challenge the demands of prescribed femininity with Beautiful Boy. It is an investigation of the visual language of gender that is deeply embedded in most societies around the world.
After having to conform to the gender restrictions of the working world, Rivera and Lillis decided to embark on the project as an expressive outlet. It started out with only a few intimate portrait photographs and soon evolved into a personal account of identity, desire and cultural taboo.
“Taking the first pictures was an emotional experience. I connected with my friend’s vulnerability,” says Rivera, “I wanted to make sure that the images were not a compromise for either of us, and we engaged in many discussions.”
The full collection of Beautiful Boy is currently on display at Clamp Art Gallery in New York until 15 July 2017.