Our Vera, Downtown LA 2013
Digital photography of
Vera Toon
Friends and Family 1993-1999
Film photography of my friends and family
Polaroids of Sarah Kate 1998-2000
SX-70 Polaroids: My 20th century muse
Home and Away: Walsall vs. LA 1998-2000
SX-70 Polaroids: Born in Walsall, live and die in LA
→Bangkok Transsexuals 1996
Film photography of transsexuals in swimsuits
Me and (Coachella) 2003
Compact digital self-portrait photography
Fernet Saved My Life
Anecdotal benefits of bitters
michaelsimontoon.com
Filmmaker, photographer, designer
info@plainfoodsociety.com


Bangkok Transsexuals 1996
Lady-man ladies, With your sexy man-bits too, Even you must be into you


“You’re very suggestible,” my Dad told me, while sitting at a dinner table in the Walsall hotel, with his friends and business colleagues, as he did every lunchtime. “I’ve just told everybody here that if I were to tell you to do something, you would do it.” We’ll see, I thought.



Transsexuals, Pattaya, Thailand
1996


“I think you should go to Thailand, and photograph the transsexuals in swimsuits,” he said. “You could make a calender out of it. I think it would be very popular.” I thought about it for only a few seconds and replied with one word. “Okay,” I said, proving his initial point.



Lady with the red dress on, Pattaya Beach, Thailand1996


I was a quiet child and could often be a young man of few words. My first school’s motto was “Facta non Verba” which I’ve always liked. It is Latin, meaning, “Deeds not Words.” Another saying I like is, “A good idea is a good idea,” and this, I thought, was a good idea.



Pattaya Beach, Thailand1996


I flew to Bangkok with just a camera, a few clothes and a backpack. Thailand is perhaps unique in its embrace of transsexuals (or ‘Ladyboys’ in Thai) as a part of its popular culture. They are celebrated, not marginalized, as they are in the west. Perhaps because Thailand is mostly Buddhist. I think so, anyway.



Pattaya Water Park, Thailand1996


I walked straight into the biggest transsexual bar I could find. It had the dark lighting of a strip club, but with the ambience of a cabaret show. All the lady-boys I met were extremely friendly. I asked if they would model for me in swimsuits, and they leapt at the chance. They were very open about their experiences.



Lady with the red dress on, Pattaya Beach, Thailand1996


I took them to the beach, and to the waterpark, or rather one of the lady-boys took me - on the back of her bright red scooter, which matched her bright red dress. She just looked like a super-hot girl, and I just looked like a lucky man, holding on tightly. She turned more heads than anybody I’ve ever seen.



A red dress, and matching red scooter... Pattaya Beach, Thailand1996


The results are a set of photographs that look much the same as many other swimsuit pictures. These particular women have a strong desire to be desired by men, and they have no objection to being objectified, in this case, as swimsuit models. They were very excited when they saw the prints and asked for extra copies.