World-famous photographer David LaChapelle has captured transgender model Carmen Carrera in the nude, both as a man and a woman.
The fantastical shots, which appear on two posters promoting the 2014 Life Ball for HIV and AIDS, see Ms Carrera, 28, re-enact a utopian scene, in which she appears in two versions; one as Adam and the other as Eve – both identical but for the genitalia, which are computer generated, leaving the question of whether she has male or female private parts in real life unanswered.
‘I’m Adam, I’ve Eve, I’m me’, the caption reads, a celebration of inclusion ahead of the May 31 annual Life Ball in Vienna, which is a the biggest charity event in Europe to support people with HIV.
Blurred lines: Transgender model Carmen Carrera (pictured as Eve, censored) appears in photographer David LaChapelle’s Garden of Eden inspired posters, which see her completely nude in a surreal, floral setting
‘Your gender should not matter in your heart or in the way you express your personality,’ she says of the posters.
‘There are so many types of diverse people on this planet. My message is: beauty has no gender. At the end of the day beauty is beauty.’
The poster was inspired by this year’s Life Ball motto, ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ and borrows from 15th Century artist Hieronymus Bosch’s most iconic work of the same name; a chaotic tangle of nude bodies and scenes of Heaven and Hell.
Double vision: The twin posters, which promote the 2014 Life Ball, an annual AIDS event, show Ms Carrera as Eve (left) and Adam (right), both are identical but for the computer generated genitalia
Inspiration: The whimsical photo artwork will be auctioned off for charity, and borrows from 15th Century artist Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ (pictured) – which is this year’s Life Ball motto
Mr LaChapelle, 51, went with a whimsical scene, his Garden of Eden landscape punctured with foliage and phallic symbolism – Ms Carrera posing with her long golden locks falling over her bare shoulders, her breasts exposed in both the Adam and the Eve portraits, and gazing at the nude male body before her, whose head is encased in an eerie sphere.
‘For me the body is more than something to be looked at as an object of sexual gratification,’ explains Mr LaChapelle, discussing his blurring of gender lines.
‘The body is a beautiful housing for the soul that we are celebrating in this picture.’
Stunner: Ms Carrera, seen in February at New York Fashion Week, has made quite the name for herself as a successful transgender model, and says her message is that ‘beauty has no gender’
And it’s a beautiful body indeed. Ms Carrera first shot to fame on the 2010 season of RuPaul’s Drag Race but was eliminated halfway through the season, later to be snapped up by Elite Model Management.
Born Christopher Roman, she started her gender re-assignment surgery in 2012, including a breast augmentation and a nose job, but as her fame has grown, she has remained tight-lipped as to whether she has had surgery on her genitalia.
‘The body is more than something to be looked at as an object of sexual gratification. The body is a beautiful housing for the soul that we are celebrating in this picture’
In a 2012 Facebook post, she wrote: ‘I live my life as a female but I have not gotten my gender reassignment surgery. To be honest, I’m still thinking about that part. Me and my husband want to be able to have kids one day and once I get the surgery, I will not be able to produce DNA to create an offspring with a genetic females DNA.[sic]‘
She has since separated from long-term partner Adrian Torres.
Change: Ms Carrera originally shot to fame as a man in 2010 when she appeared in RuPaul’s Drag Race, before being snapped up by Elite Model Management and having surgery to become a woman in 2012
Mystery: She has remained tight-lipped as to whether she has had the full gender re-assignment surgery on her genitalia, but admitted in 2012 that she was torn because she wanted the chance to have children
Ms Carrera is now keen to work on breaking down the barriers between the ‘normal’ modelling industry and that of transgender modelling.
Speaking about models such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, she said: ‘I want to be like those girls.
‘I don’t want to just be labelled as a transgender model. Why do I have to be separated? It’s the modelling industry – one industry.’
As she was: Ms Carrera was born Chris Roman
And she’s well on her way.
Thousands of fans signed a Change.org petition in a bid to get her involved in Victoria’s Secret’s 2013 fashion show.
And while the lingerie giant never addressed the petition, she has hardly been short on work.
Aside from magazine and runway appearances, it has just been announced that she will star in an eight-episode docuseries, TransAmerica, produced by supermodel mogul Tyra Banks, and scheduled to debut at the end of this year.
Mr LaChapelle’s two photograph artworks will be auctioned at the AIDS Solidarity Gala 2014 in Vienna, just ahead of the Life Ball.
‘David’s picture does not deal with sexuality as one might think at first glance, it’s about identity and expresses that human dignity and tolerance have no limits,’ says Gery Keszler, founder of Life Ball.
‘We are very honored to be able to transport one of Life Ball’s central issues with these outstanding pictures.’