From Paulette Beete’s interview with Mariette Pathy Allen for the National Endowment for the Arts:

In some ways Mariette Pathy Allen’s career in the arts has been a series of fortuitous—and life-changing—accidents. An encounter with a work by Matisse during a childhood visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art revealed Allen’s innate fluency with visual language. Later, a chance opportunity to attend an off-campus photography workshop while she was studying painting at the University of Pennsylvania changed the direction of her art practice. And a casual invitation to join a group of costumed revelers for breakfast during a New Orleans vacation introduced Allen to the subject matter that’s been the primary focus of her work ever since. Since Allen’s first book—”Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them,” which revealed the hidden world of male-to-female crossdressers—she has explored the transgender community in its many iterations. Allen’s sensitive portraits are neither about voyeurism nor judgment. Rather, as she explained in our interview, she wants her subjects to have a positive reflection of who they are. “What I realized pretty early on is that these people—crossdressers in particular—were totally misunderstood and maligned by the general public,” Allen said. “And there was nothing for them to look at so that they could identify who they were.”

View the interview

Browse all of Mariette Pathy Allen’s work at ClampArt