Meet Shauna, a sometime woman ~ photobook by Sean Lee

Updated on 14th January 2016:

Shauna will be at Gillman Barracks, Singapore, from 22nd January till 22nd February 2016. We will see her portraits on building facades and pavements throughout Gillman Barracks. Artistic photographs from Sean Lee’s Two People series will be shown outdoors for the first time as well, he will also have a special live photography session on the 22nd of January.

Read an interview with Sean Lee and see more photos here.

Updated in September 2015:

Get up close with Shauna at the Prudential Eye Zone at START art  fair in the Saatchi Gallery in London, from 10th till 13th September 2015, selected photographs of Shauna from the photobook will be on view.

Original post dated 22nd September 2014:

“For three years, between 2007 and 2009, I was a sometime woman called Shauna. I’d inhabited the persona of a ladyboy.” – Sean Lee, Singapore photographer.

I had the opportunity to attend the photobook launch of Shauna at The Substation, Singapore. Someone sitting next to me asked, “what do you think of the book?”

“It’s a lovely and humanly representation of a transgender woman,” I replied with a smile.

“So it speaks for the transgender community?” he added.

I answered without a second thought, “I don’t think it speaks for or it has to speak for anything or anyone.”

It’s a different story when it is to tell a story. Sean likes his photography to tell stories. Every work has a story to tell, such as The Garden, which was shown at Singapore Biennale 2013.

In Shauna, I see a bold move of the photographer opting to also become the subject, performing as a ladyboy, Shauna. I will let the photobook tell you the story.

Shauna - my personal favourite

Shauna – my personal favourite



Professionally, a photographer has to be confident enough to hand his camera to a stranger/passer-by to capture moments of Shauna. Confidence in himself I mean, not the stranger. Sean would guide the stand-in photographers along, setting some parameters, and went with the flow.

In the beginning, Sean even carried strobes to the places where he would be seen as Shauna. He then moved on to leveraging the lighting available in his surrounding, such as in the shot at 2:40 of the slide show (below). You will unlikely be able to guess where did the lights shining directly at her come from. I shall leave it as a priviledge to those who were present at the launch evening.

That’s far from the greatest challenge I thought. With just a remote control and a tripod, “how did you know whether the angle was right? How did you know when to click the remote control to work that shutter?”

There came the indisputable explanation, “you just know it, you will know it.” I guarantee you it’s a truthful answer. Try tweaking those questions to something you have the flair and passion for. Plus, this photographer has put in his hard work and earned his experiences.

Shauna is available on Invisible Photographer Asia. Now Shauna can go places where Sean may never get a chance to go to. Shauna can meet people Sean may never get to meet.

Sean’s work can be found in the collection of the Singapore Art Museum, as well as in the Sandor Family Collection.

Click here for an interview with Sean Lee by Vanessa Low on Singapore Art Gallery Guide.

Shauna can now meet people Sean may never get to meet

Shauna can now meet people Sean may never get to meet