“You’re very suggestible,” my Dad told me, while sitting at a dinner table in the Walsall hotel, with his friends and business colleagues, as he did every lunchtime. “I’ve just told everybody here that if I were to tell you to do something, you would do it.” We’ll see, I thought.
“I think you should go to Thailand, and photograph the transsexuals in swimsuits” he said, “You could make a calender out of it. I think it would be very popular.” I thought about it for only a few seconds and replied with one word. “Okay,” I said, proving his initial point.
I was a quiet child, and I could often be a young man of few words. My first school motto was “Facta non Verba” which I’ve always liked. It is Latin, meaning, “Deeds not Words.” Another saying I like is, “A good idea is a good idea,” and this, I thought, was a good idea.
I flew to Bangkok with just a camera, a few clothes and a backpack. Thailand is perhaps unique in its embrace of transsexuals as a part of its popular culture. They are celebrated, not marginalized, as they are in the west. Perhaps because Thailand is mostly Buddhist.
I walked straight into the biggest transsexual bar I could find. It had the ambience of a strip club, but it was more like a transsexual cabaret show. All the lady-boys I met were extremely friendly. I asked if they would model for me in swimsuits, and they leapt at the chance.
I took them to the beach, and to the waterpark, or rather one of the lady-boys took me; on the back of her bright red scooter, which matched her bright red dress. To me she just looked like a hot girl, turning heads, and I just looked like a lucky man, holding on tightly.
The results are a set of photographs that look much the same as many other swimsuit pictures. These particular women have a strong desire to be desired by men, and they have no objection to being objectified, in this case, as swimsuit models. They were very excited when they saw the prints, and asked for extra copies.