From Miss Rosen’s article for Huck:
“I always had questions about what constituted society’s gender roles,” says American photographer Mariette Pathy Allen. “What made people decide that women and men were supposed to behave in one way? Who made these rules?”
After reading the work of anthropologist Margaret Mead in high school, Allen realised those rules weren’t necessarily rue for the rest of the world, or even historically. “I found that the American configuration wasn’t the only one,” she explains. “Each culture makes their own decisions about how they want to act and behave, and that came as a great relief to me because I felt rebellious.”
In 1978, Allen met a coterie of cross-dressers in the lobby of a New Orleans hotel where she was staying during Mari Gras, and from that serendipitous encounter a new life path emerged. Over the past half century, Allen has traveled the world documenting trans and gender nonconforming communities in their many-splendored forms.
The new exhibition, Breaking Boundaries: 50 Years of Images, brings together a kaleidoscopic selection of photographs by Allen, along with artists Zackary Drucker and Jess T. Dugan, that explore gender as a spectrum – as complex, intricate and mysterious as identity itself.