Born and raised in Paris, Elsa Kostic (1990) is a photographer who lives and works in Marseille. She graduated from Maryse Eloy art school in Paris. She inspires herself of her past, surroundings, and cinematographic references to create a visual identity both raw and poetic.
Elsa Kostic uses photography to explore her interest in sub-cultures and the way they shape a collective or individual identity positively. Above all, she aims to create empowering images from her encounters. Her works have been featured in a large number of publications such as I-D Vice, Metal, Coeval, Intern, Underpressure…
Questioning the notion of gender and identity through transformation was the topic I wanted to work on with this project. I approached it as a dialogue with the models,
in order to allow them to represent themselves the way they wish.
One of my first inspirations was the reading of philosopher Fabrice Midal’s book “Sauvez votre peau”. Midal’s purpose is to restitute the myth of Narcissus in its original
meaning. According to the author, being a narcissist would not be something wrong, but an absolute necessity for accepting ourselves and other people.
After living 6 months in Brazil in 2016 with the LGBTQI + community, which I had forged strong links with, it seemed obvious to me to carry out this project with them.
That’s why I decided to come back for a couple of months at the beginning of 2020.
Before living there, I didn’t realize how risky it was to propose anything outside of the cultural norms and standards in Brazil. This country has the highest transgender
homicide rate and keeps on rising since the election of Bolsonaro. You might lose your life just for being yourself.
Despite this extreme violence, I saw great pride in the assertion of identity within a tight-knit community in Sao Paulo – which I never saw anywhere else.
This is the reason why I chose to put them in the spotlight.
Being proud and narcissistic is to dare to be oneself. Not to fall into line.
All the standards that crush our freedom must then be refused.
XYX-XO is a sexual chromosome I imagined. It can be endlessly reinvented. Out of all control, it allows infinite exploration of the self.
To view more of Elsa Kostic’s work please visit their website.