Zackary Drucker, ‘Relationship #23’, 2008-2013, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Disarmingly intimate, this photography series traces the relationship of transgender couple Drucker and Ernst as they transition in opposite directions; Ernst from female to male, and Drucker from male to female. Exhibited at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the work has since been widely discussed, constituting a breakthrough for transgender issues into the mainstream art world. Taken over the course of six years, the snapshots are both poignant and banal, giving visual form to the cumulative effects of moments in life. “When one transitions,” Drucker says, “your self-image is aligning with your physical image, which is like a dream becoming reality.”

Collections include: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Orlando Museum of Art; Univ. of Indiana's Cunningham Library; Chapman University's Hilbert Museum of California Art

Series: Relationship

Image rights: © Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst

Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art
Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography, AGO, Toronto,
Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Fotofest, Houston, Texas
Dublin Museum of Modern Art

About Zackary Drucker

About Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst

Working collaboratively, Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst are both artists in their own right: Drucker is primarily a performance artist and photographer, while Ernst is a filmmaker. Their collaborative practice gained public attention and fanfare at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, where they premiered Relationship. Initially a private work, the piece is a series of honest, dreamlike photographs—in the tradition of Nan Goldin—that document their romantic partnership over the course of five years, during which they were both in the process of transitioning (Drucker from male to female, Ernst from female to male). While the subject matter of their work gives it an inherently political element, the artists shy away from didacticism, veering instead toward bold sexuality and intimacy.

American, based in Los Angeles, California