Eliza Steinbock
INTER*me: An Inter-loculation on the Body in Photography (with Del LaGrace Volcano and Jay Prosser)
– Transgender and Intersex in the Arts, Science, and Society
Book Chapter 2016


The international photographer Del LaGrace Volcano has over a thirty-year period made a consistent subject of gender variance, sexual connectedness, and body mutations. Self named as a ‘part-time gender terrorist,’ and intentional mutation, Volcano’s photography has staged the constructedness of gender and the rich diversity of body morphologies available to those who are really willing to look, in ways that have resonated deeply with — and moreover that have often preceded, influenced and crucially brought together — emerging lesbian, queer, trans and intersex theories. Volcano is exceptional as a photographer and thinker in being concerned to show gender/sex as both highly performative and intimately embodied. Herm’s work has thus spoken across nature/nurture debates in trans, intersex and queer studies. In herm’s own gender journey, gender is not so much transformed as transmogrified as I have argued elsewhere, that is, metamorphosed constantly, its strangeness repeatedly elucidated. More than any other artist, Volcano’s oeuvre has presented queer, trans and intersex people as subjects rather than objects, since herm’s images are created through looks of identification, affiliation and desire exchanged between the sitter and the photographer. Volcano has approached photography knowingly as a kind of mirror – a hard plastic surface for identification and love.