Trans*parency: Final Draft of Project


After months of hard work, my book “Trans*parency: Revealing the Life of a Trans* Man” is complete! The entire experience of working on this project has been amazing. I’ve learned a lot about photojournalism, about being trans, and about myself.

I want to give a big thank you to Adina Schneeweis for teaching the class and for letting me have the opportunity to complete this project.

I also want to thank Kaiden Dunn, my subject for this project. Without his support and willingness to let me get so involved with his life, this wouldn’t have been possible.

And of course, thank you to friends and family who helped me keep calm through the stress of the semester and for supporting me. You guys are wonderful.

To look at the final draft of the book, and to buy it if you so desire (it’s non-profit), please click on the link!

In addition to the book being complete, I also submitted six of the photos to the 2015 Communications and Journalism Student Showcase at Oakland University and was awarded first place in photojournalism! It was a great honor and I’m so happy that this project is getting the attention it deserves. The topic is one that I care deeply about and hope to continue to share.

100/100 (100%)


Trans*parency: Second Draft of Photos

This is my second set of photographs for my project “Trans*parency: Revealing the Life of a Trans* Man.” Photos from my first draft are included, as well as new photographs. The photos are arranged in a tentative chapter order that the final project will take, starting with Medical life, moving into public life, and ending with private life.

Final Grade: 47/50 (94%)


  1. Psychological
  2. Medical Procedures
  3. Physical Changes

IMG_0207 IMG_0212 IMG_0703IMG_0716 copyIMG_2016 copyIMG_1971IMG_1995IMG_1998IMG_0573-2 IMG_0575 IMG_0577 IMG_0581 IMG_0585 IMG_0594 IMG_0602 IMG_0604  IMG_0608   IMG_1966IMG_1963 IMG_1980IMG_1975IMG_0722 IMG_0720   IMG_0742 IMG_0743       IMG_2313 copy  IMG_2311   IMG_2309 copyIMG_2610


  1. Identity (hair/clothes)
  2. Passing as male in public
  3. Social Anxiety
  4. Costumes

IMG_0665 IMG_0668 IMG_0674 IMG_0681 IMG_0686 IMG_0688 IMG_0695 IMG_0653IMG_0655IMG_1943 copyIMG_1946 copyIMG_1953 copyIMG_1960 copyIMG_0612  IMG_0649  IMG_0726  IMG_0728 IMG_0730  IMG_0644IMG_1912  IMG_2608  IMG_2023 IMG_2030 IMG_2082 IMG_2117 copy IMG_2130 copy IMG_2141 IMG_2315


  1. Past vs Present
  2. Legal
  3. Family/Friends/Pets
  4. Future Goals/Hopes

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Trans*parency: First Draft of Photos

My photojournalism project is called “Trans*parency: Revealing the Life of a Trans* Man.” For more information on the project, go here. This is my first set of photographs for this project. Not all photos may be included in the final draft. The first half of these photos focus on on the Medical portion of the assignment. The second half is a mix between the Public and Private portion.

Final Grade: 30/30 (100%)


IMG_0207 IMG_0212 IMG_0573-2 IMG_0575 IMG_0577 IMG_0581 IMG_0585 IMG_0594 IMG_0602 IMG_0604    IMG_0608   IMG_0720 IMG_0722    IMG_0742 IMG_0743 IMG_0703    IMG_0716 copy

PUBLIC/PRIVATE: IMG_0653 IMG_0655 IMG_0665 IMG_0668 IMG_0674 IMG_0681 IMG_0686 IMG_0688 IMG_0695 IMG_0612    IMG_0649  IMG_0726   IMG_0728 IMG_0730   IMG_0644IMG_0735 IMG_0737 IMG_0741

Renewable Resources in Michigan – News Assignment 3

My third news assignment was to think of an abstract idea, take 8-12 photos, and provide a caption on all of the photos.

My abstract idea started off as “fire to electricity,” and developed into renewable resources in Michigan. Michigan is a great place to develop renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, and hydro power. However, we still use a lot of fossil fuels. I tried to show the benefits of switching to renewable resources could be useful.

I originally planned to drive to the thumb to take pictures of the wind mills, but that didn’t work out. So I decided to focus mainly on electricity created by solar power in comparison to the use of fossil fuels.

Final Grade: 30/30 (100%)


550 Solar panels line the roof top of the Solar House Project at Oakland University. The building was built in 2003, and any power created in the building is used on campus.

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The sun sets over the student apartments at Oakland University on Tuesday, Mar. 4th, 2015. The end of the week marks the the start of daylight savings.


The fireplace inside the Oakland Center at Oakland University blazes on Tuesday, Mar. 4th, 2015. Students often gather around the fireplace to warm up while they work on homework.

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Tryst Mallete, 20, cooks dinner for her friends on Tuesday, Mar. 4th, 2015. Her home is one of the few that still uses a gas stove.


Randy Cojocari, 65, leaves his car running in the drive way to warm it up on Friday, Mar. 6th. The amount of toxic exhaust emissions are higher when a cold car that uses gasoline as fuel first starts up in the morning.


Giant mounds of snow pile up in an parking lot next to an apartment complex in Clinton Township, MI on Thursday, Mar. 5th, 2015. When the warm weather returns, all of the snow piles will melt and flood the ditches lining the main roads.









Tangled cords clutter the space between computers in the Technical Support Office at Oakland University on Wednesday, Mar. 4th, 2015. On average, a computer that is on for eight hours a day uses 600 kWh.


A student at Oakland University refuels his car while in class at Oakland University on Friday, Mar. 6th, 2015. The Chevrolet Volt runs on electricity and can fully recharge anywhere between 4-10 hours.


A single light bulb inside Danielle Cojocari’s, 21, bedroom lamp continues to emit light among other dead bulbs on Friday, Mar 6th, 2015. The compact fluorescent bulb can last 6x as long as standard incandescent bulbs, making them ideal for saving energy.


Students recharge their electric cars outside of Dodge Hall at Oakland University on Friday, Mar. 6th, 2015. Electric cars help reduce the consumption of fossil fuels like gasoline.


Yates Cider Mill’s water wheel in Rochester, Mich. stands still on Sunday, Mar. 8th, 2015, The Clinton River is the main source of power for the mill, which is generated by the water wheel.


Edd Bunch, 21, fills up his girlfriend’s car at the gas station in Clinton Township, Mich on Sunday, Mar. 8th, 2015. By carpooling, they are able to reduce gas consumption.


Practicing with Lighting – Workshop 4

Our fourth workshop was a practice with lighting. We used key light, fill light, background light, and accent light. We practiced shooting portraits with different combinations of these lights.

Final Grade: 20/20 (100%)


Key Light Only (ISO 800, F-stop 1.8, SS 1/60)

Key Light, and Fill Light (ISO 800, F-stop 1.8, SS 1/60)

Key Light, Fill Light, and Background Light (ISO 800, F-stop 1.8, SS 1/80)


Key Light, Fill Light, Background Light, and Accent Light (ISO 800, F-stop 1.8, SS 1/80)


Commuting to OU – Workshop 3

Our third workshop was a project focusing on our commute to Oakland University. We had to document our travel, and then create a final collage with our best photos.

Final Grade: 20/20 (100%)

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Every morning, I wake up anywhere between 7-8 a.m. I have to warm up the car, remove any snow or ice that may be on it, and get all of my belongings into the back seat.


I carpool with my boyfriend, so I have to drive to his house and pick him up before we head to Oakland. Thankfully, he lives close by and is on the way.

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Most days, our commute is about 35-40 minutes when there is no traffic. However, other days can take an hour or longer to get to school.

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I drop him off at Vandenburg Hall for his 9:00 class before heading back to find a parking spot near South Foundation Hall, where my first class of the day meets at 9:20. By 5 p.m., we’re done with classes and work and can make the trip back home.


Final Commuting Collage

Snickers and Snacks – News Assignment 2

My second news assignment was to profile an event, take 8-12 photos, and provide a caption on 3-5 of the photos.

I chose to cover an event held at Oakland University called Snickers and Snacks. The photos include most aspects of the event, including the different performers, the guests, the decorations, and the food provided.

Final Grade: 29/30 (97%)


Students filled the banquet rooms of the Oakland Center at Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. The Snickers and Snacks comedy event was hosted by the Student Program Board and featured comedy acts by Kevin Yee and Frangela.

Mini-sized candy bars provide as a small snack during the Snickers and Snacks comedy event at Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Guests were asked to take home any extras that were left behind after the show.


Students fill their plates with pasta, bread rolls, and cookies after waiting a half hour for the buffet table to become available at the Snickers and Snacks Comedy event at Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. The late food became a running-joke for the rest of the night.





Students dance to comedian Kevin Yee as he sings a song about Starbucks at the Snickers and Snacks event at Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Yee’s comedy performances are a blend of stand-up and music.

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Comedy Duo Frangela interacts with the audience during the Snickers and Snacks comedy show at Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. They encourage one woman to say the empowering mantra, “I am a Nubian Queen, and I don’t have to put up with that.”

Getting To Know Your Camera – Workshop 2

Our second workshop focused on learning how to use the camera and the different settings. We practiced with Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and ISO. We also practiced taking portraits and different camera angles.

Final Grade: 20/20 (100%)


Aperture: Low (ISO 400, F-stop 3.5, SS 1/250)


Aperture: High (ISO 400, F-stop 22, SS 3″)


ISO: Low Light, Low ISO (ISO 100, F-stop 13, SS 1/125)


ISO: Low Light, High ISO (ISO 6400, F-stop 13, SS 1/125)


ISO: High Light, Low ISO (ISO 100, F-stop 13, SS 1/4000)


ISO: High Light, High ISO (ISO 6400, F-stop 13, SS 1/4000)


Shutter Speed: High (ISO 400, F-stop 13, SS 1/250)


Shutter Speed: High (ISO 400, F-stop 13, SS 1/20)



Portrait: Wide Angle (ISO: 1600, F-stop 13, SS 1/100)


Portrait: Medium Angle (ISO: 1600, F-stop 13, SS 1/100)


Portrait: Close-up Angle (ISO: 1600, F-stop 13, SS 1/100)

Portrait Collage 2

Final Portait Collage

Tara Bieniewicz Profile – News Assignment 1

My first news assignment was to profile a person, take 8-12 photos of the subject, and provide a caption on one of the photos. (I may add more captions after the fact to practice writing them.)

I chose my cousin, Tara, and her growing basketball career. The photos include include a home game at Dakota, an away game at Grosse Pointe South, and personal photos taken at home.

Final Grade: 26/30 (87%)



IMG_0024    IMG_0025





Freshman Tara Bieniewicz (11) defends against Senior Cierra Rice (5) at Grosse Pointe South High School on Friday, Feb. 6th, 2015. Both girls have been offered full ride basketball scholarships to colleges.



Trans*parency: Project Proposal

My Project:


My photo story project for this class is called “Trans*parency: Revealing the Life of a Trans* Man.” It focuses on the life of Kaiden Dunn, a trans* man living in a suburb in Michigan, and his journey on finding his identity. A person who is trans* is one who feels that his/her gender does not match the sex he/she was assigned to at birth. It is important to remember that gender is psychological and sex is biological.

In Kaiden’s case, he was born and classified as female due to his genitalia. However, Kaiden has doubted whether or not his gender has matched his sex throughout his life. However, by the time he was a junior in high school, he decided to start the biological transition process from female to male.

I chose to do this story because the concept of being transgender is still considered to be a taboo topic: one that is highly misunderstood and unaccepted by more conservative people. Up until very recently, the trans* community, as well as the gay and lesbian community, has been widely unaccepted. Because of this lack of understanding and acceptance, living as a trans* Male can be a challenge.

Most days, Kaiden experiences being unable to “pass” as male, and is often mis-gendered as female in public despite dressing like a man. The confusion of pronouns, such as “he” and “she,” can be uncomfortable for members of the trans* community. On top of the pressure of feeling misunderstood, there is stress from potential anti-trans* violence, and feeling of being an outcast. These stresses can cause many like Kaiden to suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Another mental disorder called “body dysmorphic disorder,” in which a person believes their own appearance is defective and unworthy of being in public.

I will follow Kaiden’s journey over the course of the semester, and I plan to dig deeper into three facets of being trans*: the medical, the public, and the private. The medical will include T-shots, therapy, and episodes of depression and anxiety. The public will cover public restrooms, shopping, and passing. The private will deal with identity, relationships with family and friends, and life at home. By the end, I hope to have a book compiled of photos published to share.

With this project, I hope to accomplish is one that will help expose the life of being trans* in an attempt to show that a trans* person still a human being: that they are not freaks of nature, but compassionate, creative, and hard-working souls that deserve the same rights and freedoms as those who are cis-gender (one who’s gender matches their sex.) By documenting Kaiden’s life, I want to be as transparent, informative, and revealing about the life of a person who is currently transitions from one gender to the other.

My Subject:

I met Kaiden in 2008 through Nancy, who was one of my best friend’s and his cousin. They invited me to go to trick-or-treating with them in his neighborhood. We all got along really well that night. However, after that, I didn’t really see him again. He lived far away from the rest of us and didn’t go to our school. He was just Nancy’s cousin.

At the time, he still went by his birth name and used female pronouns. I never once thought that he was trans* or thinking about becoming trans*. I don’t believe he even knew completely either. We were still kids after all. Barely 15. We were all discovering our identities in the world.

When I graduated from high school, I did what every graduate does. I threw a party. Nancy was invited, of course, and had asked if Kaiden could come. I was happy to let him come and have a good time.

By this point, he had his name legally changed to Kaiden. I had a hard time remembering that as I introduced him by his birth name to my family. I don’t think he was using male pronouns at the time. However, he was on his way through transitioning.

Having him at the party reminded me how much we got along back in 2008. From that point on, I started inviting him to all of my events that I held. He went to the zoo with us, came to my Christmas parties, and soon he started attending Youmacon, an anime convention held in Detroit every Halloween weekend, with us. We were becoming really close friends. By the end of 2012, I was calling Kaiden by his legal name and was using the correct pronouns. He was out as a trans* male, and things were going well.

Now, we’re very close and trust each other 100%. He feels comfortable enough with me that I can hug him without warning (he normally doesn’t like being touched) and he feels comfortable enough letting me do this project on him. In addition to that, he’s one of my closest friends who doesn’t judge me for my own phobias. My emetophobia (the fear of vomiting) makes it hard for me to feel safe and comfortable traveling with people. However, I can go to conventions with him and share a room no problem, knowing that if I were to suddenly feel sick andgo into a panic attack, he’d give me the space I needed without asking me invasive questions.

Over the course of the years, I have become very protective over his identity. In public, I jump into conversation to drop the male pronouns to prevent any gender confusion. I correct my friends and my parents when they use the wrong pronoun, and I sometimes scold myself whenever I randomly say “she.”

It makes sense that I thought of Kaiden immediately when I was first assigned the project to create a photo story about a person. The challenges we’re facing is finding ways to photograph something that is mainly psychological. However, with both of us being photographers, we’re finding ways to work together to create a IMG_0202book that will hopefully spread some light over his journey.
A person who is trans* is one who feels that his/her gender does not match the sex he/she was assigned to at birth. It is important to remember that gender is psychological and sex is biological.