What queens do, the kinds of queens she refers to, is (in the ordinary way) present themselves, their naturally born male selves, as women, mostly flamboyantly — the boy being key — often publicly and sometimes on the stage. But she is no ordinary queen.
The impulse to avert our eyes from this extraordinary photographic portrait — aversion arisen primarily though not solely from a sense of preservation in need, preservation of privacy, ours and hers — is an impulse outweighed by the compulsion toward empathy. Empathy in the truest sense, though none of us, not even the genuine queens, can genuinely empathize.
Shoot the Arrow is a collection of Amy Touchette's intimate black-and-white photographs of the onstage and offstage life of celebrated New York City burlesque dancer The World Famous *BOB*. A central figure in today's "neo-burlesque" movement, the self-described "female-female impersonator" is known for her over-the-top blonde bombshell image. Touchette used 24-hour photo sessions and exclusive access to The World Famous *BOB*'s private life to produce a deep, unique, and moving photographic biography of a woman pursuing dreams of glamour and fame. Photographed strictly on 35 mm film, Touchette's pictures of The World Famous *BOB* on stage, backstage, in her daily life, and during private moments at home, are rich and beautifully real. Also containing the words of The World Famous *BOB* — plain-spoken words that appear on the page as purely extracted un-distracted and un-distracting prose — giving account of her gender evolution from an isolated farm girl in the California Valley, to a rebellious runaway taken under the wing of San Francisco's drag queen community, to her current incarnation as "spiritual transsexual" performer in New York City's burlesque revival, Shoot the Arrow is an unusually penetrating and authentic portrait of contemporary life.
Amy Touchette is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her photographs have exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Moscow MoMA, AIPAD (USA), the Pingyao International Photography Festival (China), Photissima Art Fair (Italy), Recyclart (Belgium), Noorderlicht Gallery (Netherlands), and the New York Photofestival (USA). Her work has appeared recently in The New York Times, Esquire magazine in Russia, and Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art's upcoming book Identities Now: Contemporary Portrait Photography. Trained at the International Center of Photography, Touchette recently released a series of portraits of young women in Brooklyn's McCarren Park Pool Changing Room. She is represented by ClampArt.
Shoot the Arrow: A Portrait of The World Famous *BOB* by Amy Touchette (Un-Gyve Press 2013) ISBN 0982919840 145 pages 112 images hardcover $77.