Curator Makeda Best [from Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum] recently talked with photographer Mariette Pathy Allen, who created a groundbreaking portfolio focused on crossdressers in the 1980s, along with artist Allen Frame. The conversation appears in Index Magazine:

MB: Could you tell us about your early career? What drew you to photography?
MPA: I was a painter first. I became a photographer only after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. By fluke, I met a photographer named Harold Feinstein, and it was through him that I started to do photography.
MB: It’s interesting that you turned to photography from painting. What was your process, and what were your influences? It seems like it was a big leap to move into this kind of photography. I’m curious about how you came up with an approach?
MPA: It was a gradual transition, because for a while I didn’t know how to define myself. As a painter, I was interested in shapes, lines, and space. That never stopped, but I would be alone in a studio all day. As a photographer, however, I could interact with people, and I could still look with the eyes of a painter. Photography was a passport into the world, and it allowed me to have new experiences.

Read the interview in full

Browse the exhibition “Transformations” at ClampArt
Browse the series “Transformations” at ClampArt
Browse all of Mariette Pathy Allen’s work at ClampArt