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Year in Photos: Photographer Listens and Learns

  • Jennica Guy, 17, gets ready for Hartford High School's prom with their date Charlotte Dennison on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Guy's home in White River Junction, Vt. Guy is non-binary and uses "she," "her," "they" and "them" pronouns. "Don't think that everyone who identifies as non-binary is confused," Guy said. "I've been told I'm confused in my gender identity but I'm not. That's who I am." (Valley News - Jovelle Tamayo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Valley News staff photographers and interns are sharing the stories behind their favorite photographs of the year. More of their favorites can be seen in Photo Galleries. First up is Valley News photography intern Jovelle Tamayo.

I arrived at Jennica Guy’s home on May 20, a few hours before Hartford High School’s senior prom night. After saying hello to their two outgoing dogs, I squeezed into Jennica’s small turquoise bathroom to make images as they and their date, Charlotte Dennison, sifted through a tower of makeup and hair products to get ready for the night ahead.

Jennica, in a short red dress with a full skirt, said they wore a suit at last year’s prom but felt like going with a more feminine look this year, for no particular reason. Later that afternoon, Charlotte and Jennica walked the Hartford Prom parade, beaming with confidence.

I photographed Jennica — who is non-binary and uses “she,” “her,” “they” and “them” pronouns — as part of a Valley News portrait series about gender identity. I set out to document the stories of queer and trans people navigating life in the Upper Valley, and met folks aged 15 to 68 who were willing to share their experiences with bigotry, resilience and finding community in rural Vermont and New Hampshire.

The people I met while roaming the streets (and dirt roads) of the Upper Valley as a visual journalist reinforced that we can learn so much from each other, as long as we make the time to slow down and listen.

— Jovelle Tamayo