The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


    How often do we walk past someone on the street, and when they look into our eyes, we glance away.. not allowing a stranger to know us, to perhaps see into our soul, and to then bear our hearts in an open manner, without fear, for others to see. These portraits are representative of strangers in my life, who showed me their spirit, their souls and told me their stories. 

    All of them were strangers, most of them have been through hard times, some still are not sure where they will get their next meal. But all of them have a kindness in their eyes, that tells of a spirit within that has not been broken.  We all have stories to tell. My hope is that you will look at these portraits and wonder what their stories might be. And perhaps the next time you are rushing by another sentient being on the street, or in the park, you will allow the privilege of looking directly into their eyes, to perhaps hear their story, to see the light within them. This one act of grace and kindness, opens the circle of life so that we all become interconnected in some manner. Imagine how powerful we as human beings can become.. Grateful..



All of my work is photographed on a digital camera with limited manipulation in lightroom and photoshop. All works are printed on archival paper. 



Two souls in one

“Lessons in Glamour”

“He slides on a dress and steps into heels. He slips on his jewelry and puts on his wig. He applies his lipstick and shadows his eyes. His transformation is almost complete”. 

  To complete the transformation, one needs the performance. And although the performance is the end result, it is the transformation that most fascinates me. 

Over the years, I have been privileged to be invited into the dressing rooms of many amazing drag queens, as a friend and a photographer.

It is in the dressing room, where the lines of gender and sexuality become purposely blurred. 

Makeup is applied in the most exact and dramatic specifications, stockings are donned, hips are built where there were none and breasts are sculpted.  While this evolution occurs, the “male” is chattering away, either to himself or to others in the dressing room. 

              “Now who has my lipstick”,

              “I forgot my eyelashes”,     

              “Honey, this is a Bob Mackie dress.”

             “Oh my god, she is beautiful.”

             “The face doesnt’ come together until you have on your lips.”

             “Girl, I was doing that song tonight.”                                                                                                                                                                                                           

   Drag queens are not pretending to be women, they are creating an illusion of femaleness. But they feel deeply identified with that    “in-between” gender role and they’re performing in this way. They are beautiful. 

 For the audience,  the drag queens create a space, in which nothing is as it is in the “real world”. At the same time, they are challenging all of us to shift our views on defining the terms.. male and female, feminine and masculine. It is my hope that through my photographs, one willsee how easily there is a fusion of male and female within all of us, and that the “self” lies along a continuum. 

These specific photographs were taken over time 

Raven Bar and Night Club, New Hope Pa

Ellen S Rosenberg