La Fille Renne — non-binary photographer, film director, tattoo artist, and co-director of feminist media, Polysème Magazine — gives insight and intimacy to their series, Reclaiming Our Bodies: Systemic, Gynecological, and Obstetric Violence Towards Our Sexes in the Framework of Health, a project that brings awareness through photography issues of gynecological and obstetrical violence against women, non-binary people, and transgender men.
Born and currently based in Lyon, France, La Fille Renne has been shooting photos since the age of 10, when their father gave them one of his film cameras. They went on to obtain degrees in biology and bioarchaeology, and was a high school biology and geology teacher for several years before becoming a full-time artist. La Fille Renne recounts an experience teaching teenagers sex education that continues to drive their work in educating people and dispelling taboos surrounding sexuality.
The biggest challenges in Reclaiming Our Bodies have been the amount of work —the research, interviewing, transcribing, and writing taking a year to complete in addition to shooting photos — and the complications of social media censorship. La Fille Renne says that some of the participants’ testimonies and images which involve menstrual blood, vulvas, or dicklits (transformation of the clitoris after taking testosterone) “are not directly related to violence, but rather come from a desire to reappropriate. These images are obviously absolutely not publishable” on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Yet social media has been instrumental in connecting with people who are eager to share their personal stories to gain power over their own bodies. “I started to photograph friends to produce the first images [of the project],” La Fille Renne says, “and the rest was done by call for collaborations on social networks. More than 300 people have contacted me in two years.” An astonishing and encouraging number of people, and testament to La Fille Renne’s caring, driven commitment to the people with whom they collaborate.
Some of the images from Reclaiming Our Bodies were recently exhibited in March 2022 at Scène Nationale d’Orléans, and La Fille Renne plans to publish a book with the interviews and images, as well as host future exhibitions. They also want to continue work on the documentation of non-normative bodies, and another long-term project about non-binarity because they feel “we are too little represented, even in queer and militant circles.