Monday, August 21, 2023

Proof of Femininity - The Value of Early Photos

Photos 1982-1985

By Rhonda Williams

Polaroid Automatic 100 Land Camera
I still have it 

My Early "Escape" adventures were to prove to myself that I could realistically present as feminine.  Early-on I used my trusted Polaroid Camera (no camera shop processing required) to take B/W photos using a self-timer. The small photos were never convincing.

Working up enough courage I ventured into a small photo studio in Tampa while on a business trip. I needed professional quality photos. I do not remember what lame cover story I used on the photographer / owner that day, but he said yes. Shocked, and before I could loose my nerve, I hurried back to my hotel to change. 

This was one of Rhonda's (although she was not yet named) first public Escapes.   

A little side story: The owner / photographer wanted to learn about the new personal computers of the day, so we traded services and became fast friends in the process.  Whenever I was in Tampa with a new outfit, we worked together setting up programs on his IBM PC jr. and doing a photo shoot. Years later he switched careers and became a network administrator of a large company.  

Playing with Double Exposure

Best of all, sometimes he would have outfits left over from modeling shoots that I got to try.  Also he could experiment with different techniques and his studio lighting to find what worked best. This was all before Photoshop.    .    

All of my early Rhonda photos were taken by Stan and I will be forever grateful for his acceptance and friendship. His studio became my "Escape" haven and place where Rhonda build her confidence. 

Still lacking courage to be out, after the each photo shoot. I headed back to my motel to change. I was a few years away for being among civilians. However, my courage was growing as I studied each photo. I cherish these early photos as each one tells a story of emergence. 

What was your epiphany,"Proof of Femininity", moment? 


1982 - "Tootsie"
My first professional Photo 

Note:  Check out my "Before and After" double-exposure on Stana's Way.  (Femulate)  This was one of my early photos from the era of experimentation. .  


  1. My make-over with Jamie Austin at the Glamour Boutique in Auburn Mass was pivotal. It showed me what was possible if I worked at it. Jamie brought a lot of girls all the way. The one girl who went right after my make-over you might remember her on the internet Diana Arria, the make-over let to her transition she is now married to a wonderful guy and is a successful executive.


    Paula Gaikowski

    1. Paula, that is an absolutely gorgeous look. Proof of Femininity - mission accomplished!