From Serena Jara’s article for Autostraddle regarding the new Illuminations Grant endowed by Mariette Pathy Allen:
Funded by contemporary photographer Mariette Pathy Allen, the Illuminations Grant allows Black trans women to be more than the object of another person’s gaze by interfering with the culture of extraction permeating modern trans representation.
Mariette’s work comprises a largely unseen photographic history of transness, one that developed prior to contemporary debates around representation. Before the emergence of “trans” as a gender identity, she was a cisgender photographer depicting a multitude of gender non-conforming individuals, mainly middle and upper-class white people she met at crossdressing conventions throughout the 1980s. Her images were groundbreaking because at the time, nobody else wanted to look at trans people in a humanizing light. In the 90s and early 2000s, one can see her subjects diversify in age, race, and class, most notably in the images of trans and intersex youth. In the 2010s she photographed trans women in Burma, Thailand, and Cuba.