Frederike De Jonge - Photographer

Model - Mystica

Vicky Lee

Cover Girl Sonny

Model - Holly

Raven Snook by Frederike de Jonge Make-up & Styling by Andy Freeze

Frederike de Jonge by Nixou, Hair & Make-up by Nickie Nicole, Dress by The Frollicking Frocks’

Symony by Frederike de Jonge

Alexis Arquette Drag Celebrity

Now of course for a person to find transgender inspirational it is not essential to BE transgendered. Over the years I have met thousands of creative transgendered people AND those that are inspired touse their talent around transgender subjects but are not transgendered themselves. They are photographers, fashion designers, film makers, painters, writers, poets, performers. I asked some of these talented people to contribute to this book. I asked them to tell us about their thoughts and experiences in this context and to show us some of the results of their skills. Their contributions follow.

I first met Frederike de Jonge from Holland in about 1995 at The WayOut Club. She asked to take pictures in the club. I made the mistake of publishing this picture without giving credit to Frederike in my fourth book. She strongly protested and taught me a strong lesson. Since then we have become good friends and she has contributed many pictures to my books including two covers. In the 10th edition of The Tranny Guide Frederike gave me a fabulous set of photos taken with ‘celebrity tranny’ Alexis Arquette. Of Alexis Frederike said “He is a very talented and rising star. Watch out for him... While visiting LA I could not have asked for a better or lovelier host!!

I asked Frederike to answer these questions:-

What inspires you to shoot pictures with a TG theme?

I love photographing people who stand out in a crowd and make a point of doing so. My thoughts on style, image and content are continuously challenged by the people I meet and the subjects I choose to shoot.

What would you say is the aspect of TG that you want to capture and present?

Out of all the aspects you could choose, I'd like to say I capture the very essence of TG in my images. I like to present it in a very glamourous way, applauding and celebrating their beauty. The other style in which I work tends to be documentary/reportage.

Do you have other subject matter that you specialise in or are you just totally eclectic?

I don't have a subject matter as such. I guess describing me as totally eclectic is not far off the mark. That said though, the last couple of years my subject matter has been within the field of drag queens, goth, vampire, gay, fetish and cities.

What introduced you to the TG scene?

I started my career photographing gigs e.g.: Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, Nina Hagen, Henry Rollins, etc. After about seven years of this I suffered a total creative block. There is only so much you can do within a live performance of a band. Transformations were always interesting to me and one day I asked a friend if she knew any drag queens. One thing led to another and I nearly became a full-time drag photographer. I am very grateful for this change, since I have captured some of my best work during this time.

What would be your dream outlet for your pictures?

To be part of the Magnum agency in Paris, producing my own books and exhibiting my work worldwide.

Article from the 'He or She' Book - To see more articles from this book click here


All pictures by Frederike De Jonge




Frederike interviewing Raven Snook and Andy Freeze

“Drag is not gender-bound, it is a state of mind”

To me drag is not gender-bound it is a state of mind. I have met several women (born gender female that is!) who are, in my terms, a drag queen, (including myself). Some male “drag queens” say women do not have enough drama or glamour to be drag queens. I say – what about the women so many drag queens impersonate? A few names come to mind: Diana Ross, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler, Cher, Joanna Lumley, Madonna to name but a few.

During my last visit to New York I met up with Raven Snook (‘Designated Diva’ drag performer) and Andy Freeze (make-up artist & self-proclaimed drag terrorist) for a photoshoot and some chit-chat on the essence of drag.

Frederike: What makes Ravens ‘Designated Diva’ a drag queen?

Andy: Raven has always been a girl with a little bit of flair....

Raven: A little bit’? Excuse me... Cher is a girl with a little bit of flair!! I have always identified with drag queens, in terms of glamour and in terms of what I think looks feminine.

I interpret femininity as what drag queens do – as opposed to what “women” do. Gender lines are getting blurred and I’m sure that ten years from now men and women will be wearing some stupid minimalist, gender neutral look. However I’m still gonna be hockin my glitter lipstick!

Frederike: What would be your response to a male “drag queen” who says women can not be drag queens?

Raven: What is a drag queen?.... For some it may mean some nasty bearded guy who just throws on a dress, does that really make him a drag queen? For me it totally does not! Drag is about working a look, an attitude and a style. It’s not about the gender of the person.

Andy: To me, drag is a cartoon ideal. Just look at all those Hollywood stars who really carve and sculpt a look. I mean really recreate themselves into something that they are not.

Raven: That’s what it is! Exactly!! It is taking an aesthetic that doesn’t have to be cross-gender. I think that ‘a cartoon’ is a really good way of putting it. I was attracted to the glamour of the old MGM-musicals. That was the aesthetic (the cartoon) that I was predisposed to be.

Andy: You also discovered punk....

Raven: Yeah, I discovered punk too.... My mom made a good point about that! She said: “You know, even when you were a punk you were never ugly. You always tried to look glamorous. You took the look and cleaned it up”. For me punk was about dressing up.

My friend *BOB* has been working the drag-circuit professionally for eight years, performing at various venues in Paris, Amsterdam and New York including a show at Wigstock 99. She is often mistaken for a drag queen. People are fascinated with her. Women who come into contact with her sometimes think she is male and say “I wish I could be a drag queen”. To people who say that female drag queens do not exist her response is – My career exists – that’s proof of what I am and that’s all possible because I do not believe in limits. Negative remarks about my career as a drag-performer are completely irrelevant and don’t deserve any attention whatsoever. As for day to day drama in drag, if it’s not on stage and you are not getting paid for it, it’s worthless!!’

When I asked her how she felt working alongside other drag queens she said: ‘It is very inspiring and I absolutely have the best drag-mother in the world Jackie Beat!! I seldom impersonate other people. I only impersonate different aspects of myself. The only person I do impersonate, other than myself, is Angelyne THE Billboard Queen of Hollywood...

Drag to Symony is in the detail. It could be a pair of shoes or an accessory. It doesn’t have to be an entire outfit. In her opinion some women are constantly in drag. Its not just about what you wear it’s the attitude that comes with it and how you carry yourself.

You can look like shit but if you walk out there smiling, loving yourself, you’re gonna look good regardless!!

Personally I don’t get all that many opportunities to be in drag, as I have to remain focused while photographing others in drag. I know that if I were in drag on these occasions it would hold me back. However I too very much feel that drag is a state of mind. For me personally it is hard to describe in words alone. It is a feeling I have inside – a feeling that I need to express. I feel I can express myself best through my photographs and not only those I take – but also those I pose for. After preparing for these pictures I really like to go out and party. The attention you receive when dragged up is fabulous and can be addictive.

Amazing amounts of people want to link “drag” to a gender category. If anything – drag should be seen as a form of expression, an art form, free of gender stereotyping.


Photos by Frederike de Jonge


Model - Candis Cayne

Cover Girl Sonny