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SVA Alumnus Lissa Rivera and Her 'Beautiful Boy' Project

From The New York Times: “On a long subway ride three years ago, BJ Lillis decided to share something with his friend and co-worker, Lissa Rivera. Mr. Lillis, who describes himself as genderqueer, told her that he had spent most of his college years dressing, full-time, in women’s clothing.

But in the professional world, he’d lost his confidence. To help him regain it, she offered to take his photograph.

Mr. Lillis had never really seen himself, dressed as he wished, in a carefully made portrait.

‘So much of identity is constructed from looking at pictures,’ Ms. Rivera said in a recent interview. ‘Looking at photographs and looking at a film can really change who you are.’

The two have made dozens of images since, in a project called 'Beautiful Boy.' An exhibition of the same name opens June 1 at the ClampArt gallery in Chelsea.

‘When we took the first photo,’ Mr. Lillis said, ‘I felt like I’d never had my photo taken before.’

That impromptu portrait session stirred something between the two of them. Over the following months they became a couple. And when they returned to the project, they brought the energy of a new relationship to it…” (For the full story and a photo slideshow, click here)

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