This is Gaetane Niquet, aka “Jacky”, a transsexual and subject of Swedish photographer Christer Stromholm (1918-2002).

Mr. Stromholm’s book Les Amies de Place Blanche is a documentation of transsexual “ladies of the night” in Paris in the 60s. It is being re-released accompanied by an exhibition at ICP in NYC.

In the preface of the of the original book, Stromholm comments that the work is “about insecurity, about humiliation, about the quest for self-identity and the right to live.” He talks about the “right to own and control one’s own body.”

Commentary: While self-mastery is critical to being ourselves, the idea that we own ourselves is wrong. We participate in determining ourselves, but we didn’t create our ‘self’. When people try to identify, or define, themselves apart from their Creator, gender, identity, and self are subsumed by feelings, emotions and body.

Photographs: Wise, 2012; Stromholm, 1961