Relationship (2008-2014) is a series of intimate snapshots taken by Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst that depicts the arc of their real-life love story, and coincides with the experimental, semi-autobiographical film that they created together, SHE GONE ROGUE (2012). In the film, the relationship is hinted at; in the photographs, it is underscored.
In a New York Times preview of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Carol Vogel describes Relationship as "an especially provocative photographic diary [that] chronicles the couple's five-and-a-half year relationship, in which one transitioned from female to male, and the other from male to female. Until now, this had been a private journal."
Taken from 2008-2014, the photographs are an intimate voyeuristic view into the private relationship of these two individuals. Reminiscent of Nan Goldin’s photographs from the late 1970s or early 1980s, the portraits convey a specific time and place—the sexuality of two people in love who have opted for a non-operative transition into an altered gender existence on hormones.
As both subjects and creators of these images, Drucker and Ernst engage varying elements of self-fashioning. Representing themselves in the midst of shifting subjectivities and identities and making images that are both unguarded as well as performative, Relationship is an extension of their narrative filmmaking practices. Collectively, the photographs become a cinematic version of their romantic and creative collaboration. Simultaneously fact and fiction, they disclose the pair as self-consciously and conspicuously presenting themselves, offering autobiography as ambiguity and unraveling identity as a construction. In Drucker's words:
"Our bodies are a microcosm of the greater external world as it shifts to a more polymorphous spectrum of sexuality. We are all collectively morphing and transforming together, and this is just one story of an opposite-oriented transgender couple living in Los Angeles.