Trans photographer Loren Rex Cameron dies

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday February 28, 2023
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Loren Rex Cameron. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
Loren Rex Cameron. Photo: Courtesy Facebook

Loren Rex Cameron, a trans man whose seminal book of portraits and self-portraits of trans male bodies resonated deeply with many, died November 18, 2022 in Berkeley. He was 63.

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau confirmed the date and location of Mr. Cameron's death.

Mr. Cameron, who went by Rex in later years, was perhaps best known for his first book, "Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits" (Cleis Press), which was published in 1996. It documents the process of transition and everyday lives of the author and other trans men. It was praised for its intimate yet respectful portrayal of trans men and was a double Lambda Literary Award winner that year.

Many people believe that it remains a milestone of the subject of FTM documentation.

"He was such an incredibly sweet guy, and I found that he valued genuine connections," Gabriel Haaland, a trans man and former Bay Area resident, wrote in a Facebook message to the Bay Area Reporter. "You could see it so clearly in his eyes. It felt like there weren't that many of us back in the early 1990s and it meant a lot to know him. I am so grateful for all that he did for our community."

Haaland recalled a book signing that Mr. Cameron did at the old A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco's LGBTQ Castro neighborhood. He said that Mr. Cameron's book helped him as a trans man.

"I literally stopped breathing for a minute when I saw his book," Haaland wrote. "It brought such an intensely beautiful visibility that profoundly broke through so much internalized fear and insecurity within me."

Matt Rice, another friend of Mr. Cameron's, wrote in an email that they had not been in touch with him for a long time and only recently found out that he had passed away.

"I knew Loren as one of the guys who attended FTM support groups that eventually became FTM International," wrote Rice, who identifies as a pan nonbinary trans guy. "He took photos of a bunch of us in that group that became the 'Body Alchemy' book. Those books, which included a photo of me, were truly transformative for so many gender-diverse people who did not otherwise have access to the peer group we had built in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Rice added that Mr. Cameron "loved his little dogs and made lots of friends in Berkeley walking them."

An online obituary for Mr. Cameron noted that as well as his published work, Mr. Cameron exhibited his art in galleries and lectured at universities. In addition to "Body Alchemy," Mr. Cameron published an online book, "Man Tool: The Nuts and Bolts of Female-to-Male Surgery," which also contained self-portraits and photos of other trans men.

The Facebook page paid tribute to Mr. Cameron, noting his photos were an inspiration to many trans guys.

According to the Digital Transgender Archive, Mr. Cameron's papers are held in the Cornell University Library.

Mr. Cameron was born March 13, 1959. The online obituary noted that Mr. Cameron was a solitary person. He is survived by three sisters.

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