“Makeup generally looks best when unnoticed” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Maxx Giffen by © Cyndal Lorch

“Meet the inspiring individual who I’m going to refer to as Motivational Maxx. :)

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet and photograph Maxx up in Wasaga Beach; one of my old stomping grounds. Maxx is a trans photographer who is also is the brain and talent behind another photo based project called The TRANSformation Project.

Taken from the Kickstarter page…The TRANSformation Project uses the art of photography to document the physical, mental, and/or emotional changes that occur throughout one year in a transgender or transexual’s journey. These changes can be related to hormone replacement therapy, surgery, healthier eating/exercise habits, counselling, et cetera. The participant will be photographed on three separate occasions (now, in six months, and in one year). ” – Cyndal L

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Maxx

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. I was a Residence Don in 2011/12. On my 20th birthday, one of my students told me in confidence that she was pregnant. We spent an hour talking about her options, after which another student of mine barged in saying she needed me. I followed her to her room, and when we were passing the residence lounge she opened the door, and all my students were in the lounge, with a DQ ice cream cake, and a birthday banner that they had all signed. My first reaction was to turn to my student and say “You’re not really pregnant, are you?”. She wasn’t, it had been a diversion tactic.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. On my second birthday, I was only 18 pounds because I was sick. I spent the next several days in the hospital with pneumonia.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. Last year my mother gave both my brother and I DVD’s of our old childhood VHS videos. It was quite a lovely surprise.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. No, but I will never turn down DQ ice cream cake.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. To be surrounded by loved ones, whether they be friends or family.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. We always have a DQ ice cream cake with my parents, twin brother and grandparents.