About this project
Help me turn my award-winning photography exhibit into a book!
In 2003, I started photographing and interviewing transgender people on their notions of masculinity and femininity as they changed genders. By 2006, after photographing nearly 150 trans men and women and distilling down their stories, "Transfigurations"— the touring exhibit —was born. This startling and groundbreaking photographic series on the transgender community has now toured across the country—from galleries in New York City to universities such as Stanford—for the last five years to rave reviews and acclaim.
The 55-piece exhibit of large black and white images with text, explores what it means to be a man and a woman, by people who have transitioned to the opposite sex, which blurs the lines of gender separation, stereotyping, and discovering cultural influences.
In doing the work I discovered that gender is both real and illusory, natural and constructed. The photographs aim to shed light on the transformation from one sex/gender to another. The series also explores the importance of the body to gender identity as well as the effects of transformative practices on the body, creating a reality beyond ordinary experience.
Over the past decade there has been heightened public awareness of transgender issues. With the increased visibility of transgender persons also comes an increase in discrimination and violence directed at transgendered, intersexed, and gender variant people. The Gender Education and Advocacy organization states that, "Transgendered people are the most stigmatized and misunderstood of the larger sexual minorities (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender)." In spite of this, the transgender community is emerging into its own place in history, as a new movement, expanding the language of gender and sex.
I am very proud of this work and how it has greatly effected the lives of not only the transgender community, giving them a voice where they never had one before, but also to the public in general. At exhibits viewers are often moved to tears having read the stories and struggles that transgneder people go through to become "whole." I have been greatly honored that "Transfigurations" was included in the prestigious Best Photos of The Year in both 2004 and 2005 by Photo District News of New York. It was also included in The International Photography Awards 2005, the Phelan Art Award 2005, the Excellence in Photography Award from San Jose State's School of Art & Design, and The Center for Photographic Arts Awards 2004.
People have been asking me for years for the work in book format. Unfortunately I was unable to find an agent to represent the book proposal to publishers, due to the subject matter. Without an agent it has been impossible to solicit to publishers. Those publishers I was able to speak with loved the work but ultimately declined because photo books are very expensive to publish and they didn't feel the transgender theme was one they could bank on.
When a third university professor recently came to me and asked if they could use the work in a textbook format for their sociology classes i decided, "This is it, I'm going to self publish!"
I'm hoping that you will help me raise the money needed to produce a first run edition of the work in softback and a limited edition in hardcover. I have a wonderful, museum quality printer who will do the photographs justice in print. The book will be 144 pages with an introduction by renowned author and trans activist Jamison Green.
If I can raise the funds the book will be printed and available by late summer. Help me make this book a reality! Thank you!
UPDATE: Yes, we've reached our $8K goal! Thank you! Please remember that printing costs are much more than $8k. Additional funding will be used for the full printing cost, to pay the book designer, distribution to local libraries, schools and Trans-education programs, and much more. You can preorder the book as well for your $50 donation. Please continue to spread the word and let's continue to raise funds. YOU are making it happen!
See a slide show of selected images HERE: http://www.janamarcus.com/docus/TransPresentation/sld001.htm
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