Mariette Pathy Allen

Other Books

  • Films Films


    Southern Comfort

    Q Ball Productions, 2000 : Consultant & Still Photographer
    View Trailer


    • The Transgender Revolution
      Q Ball Productions, 2000, for A&E, 1998

    • The Transexual Menace
      Rosa Von Praunheim, 1996

    • Down and Out in America
      Dir. Lee Grant, HBO, 1985

    • What Sex Am I?
      Dir. Lee Grant, HBO, 1984

    Mariette Pathy Allen was the still photographer on all films, and the consultant on "Southern Comfort", The Transgender Revolution" and "The Transexual Menace".

    Allen Frame

    Discussing Mariette's Scapes Work
    View on YouTube

    Brooklyn Museum Interview

    For the exhibition “Burning Down the House”
    View on YouTube

  • News News


    Upcoming Exhibitions

    Transgender USA

    October 21 – December 22, 2016

    Third Friday Durham Reception and Artist’s Talk
    October 21, 2016, 5p.m.–8p.m.

    Power Plant Building
    Suite 100 American Tobacco Campus

    320 Blackwell Street Durham, NC 27701
    Phone: 919-660-3622

    More Information

    The Photo Review Benefit Auction
    3rd prize in the Photo Review contest with image from book “TransCuba” - “Performer at the Las Vegas Club, Havana” - to be in upcoming auction.

    October 8, 2016

    The University of the Arts

    Philadelphia, PA

    Past Exhibitions:

    June 16 – August 14, 2016

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    North Miami

    Joan Lehman Building
    770 NE 125th Street
    North Miami, Florida 33161

    More Information

    FotoFest 2016 Biennial
    International Fine Print Auction

    Image from book “TransCuba” was auctioned “Lady and Laura at the Las Vegas Club, Havana, 2012

    March 21, 2016

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston Downtown
    400 Dallas Street, Houston, TX 77002

    More Information

    what’s INSIDE HER never dies…a Black Woman’s Legacy
    December 1, 2015 - April 3, 2016

    Yeelen Gallery
    294 NW 54th Street
    Miami, Fl 33127


    More Information

    December 9, 2015 - January 24, 2016

    Elizabeth Houston Gallery
    190 Orchard Street
    New York, NY 10002


    More Information

    2015 Annual Photo Benefit Auction

    Baxter St at Camera Club of New York

    Image from “TransCuba”- Miguel at a barber shop, Havana

    Opening Oct 22, 2015

    Affirmation Arts | 523 W 37th St.

    Exhibition at YEELEN Gallery:

    October 17th - November 28th

    The exhibition has been featured in The Huffington Post, and

    Yeelen Gallery
    294 NW 54th Street
    Miami, Fl 33127

    More Information

    We Heart:

    "It’s not just international relations that are relaxing under the leadership of Raúl Castro. While the developing détente between the communist country and the West could have big implications for the lives of all Cubans, the government’s changing attitudes — shaped by the new president — is heralding a new dawn for minority groups who were once confined to the shadows of society.The transgender community of Cuba has, until recently, been a group forced to live life in private. However, Cuba is demonstrating a clear commitment to reform societal attitudes towards LGBT groups. The president’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espín, is a key part of this modernising movement in her role as director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education — a government-funded tolerance advocate. Castro Espín provides the preface to TransCuba — a study by American photographer Mariette Pathy Allen which focuses on a transgender group in Havana. Allen has been documenting transgender issues for 30 years, and her experience allowed her to foster close and trusting relationships with the three central subjects of this work; Amanda, Nomi and Malu…"


    JUNE 25 - JULY 31, 2015

    “All of the subjects in TransCuba are old enough to have experienced the political oppression not just of trans life but also of homosexuality. Allen visits them at a time when they have newfound freedom, after a shift has occurred not only in governmental policy but also in the culture around them, toward acceptance and understanding.” — Allen Frame, photographer, curator, activist, writer-director

    Rayko Photo Center
    428 Third St.
    SF, CA 94107

    More Information

    The Bay Area Reporter:

    "TransCuba is the latest body of work from Mariette Pathy Allen, whose stated goal is "the de-freakification of gender variant people," having photographed and advocated for the transgender community for 35 years. Her exhibition of glossy, technically assured color photographs, which is accompanied by a handsome monograph that includes the personal stories of some of her subjects, arrives at a pivotal juncture when relations between Cuba and the U.S. are thawing, and there's potential for increased acceptance of gays and newfound freedom for transgender people…"


    "Intimate photos of trans women in Cuba By Ryan Kost Updated 5:25 pm, Wednesday, July 1, 2015 In some ways, to take photographs is to study moments; it is to be preoccupied with glances, with lighting, with things that transpire in a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a second. It seems right, then, to consider how two moments shaped the career of photographer Mariette Pathy Allen…"

    San Francisco Chronicle:

    "Photographer widens view on gender in island nation. In some ways, to take photographs is to study moments; it is to be preoccipied with glances, with lighting, with things that transpire in a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a second…"

    It's Nice That:

    "Mariette Pathy Allen’s photographs are striking because they’re unlike any series about the transgender community I’ve seen before. Rather than focusing on the the theatrics and glamour often presented to us, Mariette wanted to capture the everyday life of a community who were choosing to live in the gender that felt most comfortable to them. Mariette’s photographed the transgendered community for 30 years now but that first photograph was completely by luck. “In 1978 I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I stayed in the same hotel as a group of cross-dressers who invited me to join them for breakfast on the last morning,” Mariette explains. “When I took a group picture, I was moved by looking into the eyes of one of the people in the group. I felt as though I was looking at the essence of a human being, rather than a man or woman.”

    New York Times - Women in the World:

    "During a recent trip to Cuba, Mariette Pathy Allen spent a day at the beach with her friends Amanda and Malu, both of whom are transgender women. On their way back home, the group was detained at a checkpoint. When police discovered that Allen’s companions had records for prostitution, they hauled the group into the station…"


    “I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break the rule in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

    Rule Setter: Ann M. Jastrab, Gallery Director, Rayko Photo Center
Rule Breaker: Mariette Pathy Allen

    "I never want to see another picture made in Cuba. Now it’s true, photographs of vibrantly dressed people walking by vintage automobiles and old city walls with peeling paint and crumbling architecture are seductive. Especially when they are taken in the gorgeous light near the Tropic of Cancer, the earth tilting towards the sun like a gift each spring breaking my heart with its warmth. My time in the West Indies haunting me anew each time I see pictures made in that light. Well, it used to be each time. Even after viewing 20 or 30 portfolios of these pictures, they are still seductive. There is something about this place, frozen in time, which is magical and alluring. But at some point (maybe it’s around the 50th portfolio), you realize that not everyone can be Alex Webb…"

    Over the Rainbow Books:

    A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

    2015 Over the Rainbow List: 78 LGBT Books for Adult Readers

    "The 2015 Over the Rainbow Project book list, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), has been decided at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. This year’s list includes 78 titles published between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014"

    TransCuba by Mariette Pathy Allen has been included in this list.

    NPR: Latino USA:

    "After his victory in 1959, Fidel Castro promised the Cuban Revolution would be for the working class, the poor and the humblest Cubans… as long as they were straight. Cuban officials saw homosexuality as a sign of counterrevolutionary, bourgeois decadence. The new regime sent homosexuals, political dissenters and religious minorities to labor camps known as UMAPs, and kept in place public decency laws that prohibited any form of transgender or gender-nonconforming behavior. Homosexual Cubans like poet Reinaldo Arenas were among the thousands of Cubans who went into exile on the Mariel Boatlift in 1980…"

    Listen to the full interview here.

    TransCuba on Photo-Eye

    Publisher's Description
    "For more than 30 years, New York–based photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender…""

    The Daily Beast's Best Coffee Table Books of 2014

    "Photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender culture worldwide for more than 30 years and lately she has been able to turn her eyes on Cuba. Apparently Cuba’s transgender community has gained enough acceptance under the current regime to make it possible for Allen to collect the images for this seductive anthology. The book also includes interviews and a note from director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana, Mariela Castro (who happens to be Cuban President Raúl Castro’s daughter), who was instrumental in the 2008 passage of the law allowing transgender individuals to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender…"

    Lens Culture

    "I can envision a future time when mainstream society will be so free of judgment and prejudice that gender-variant people will be appreciated as teachers who show the rest of us how to liberate ourselves from the rigidity of gender roles and find alternative ways of integrating mind and body…"

    Older Online Exhibitions:


  • Bio Bio



  • CV CV


    Download as PDF

    Book Publications:

    • TransCuba: Daylight Books, 2014, Hardback
    • The Gender Frontier: Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany, 2004, Hardback
    • Masked Culture: The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, Columbia U. Press, 1994
    • Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them. E. P. Dutton Inc.,1989.

    Permanent Collections:

    • Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
    • Brooklyn Museum of Art, NYC
    • New York Public Library, NYC
    • Reiss-Engelhorn Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
    • George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
    • Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium
    • Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
    • Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
    • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
    • Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
    • Fogg Museum, Harvard U., MA
    • Duke University, Durham, NC
    • Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, IN
    • Haverford College, Haverford, PA
    • Museum of Photography, Lishui, China
    • Private Collections

    Selected Solo Exhibitions:

    • “Transgender USA”, Power Plant Gallery, Durham, NC 2016
    • “TransCuba”, Yeelen Gallery, Miami 2015
    • “TransCuba”, Curated by Cenesex Staff, Cenesex, Cuba, December 2014- 2015
    • “TransCuba”, with Vince Cianni, Daylight Project Space, Hillsborough, NC, 2014
    • "TransCuba", Daylight exhibition space, Hillsborough, NC, 2014
    • “Transformations”, Vassar College, 2011
    • “Beyond The Gender Frontier”, Bridgewater State College, 2007
    • “Transgender”, L’Usine Galerie, Brussels, Belgium, 2007
    • “Animate and Inanimate”, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR. 2002
    • “The Gender Frontier”, Gallery 1401, U. of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 2001
    • “The Gender Frontier”, Hungarian House of Photography, Budapest, 2000
    • “Transformations”, Carpenter Center, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA, 1995
    • “Transformations”, Provincetown Arts Association, MA. 1991
    • “Transformations”, Simon Lowinsky Gallery, NYC, 1990
    • “The Beholder’s Eye: Men As Women”, Light Work Gallery, Syracuse U., 1988
    • “Men As Women”, Il Diaframma Gallery, Milan, Italy, 1987

    Selected Group Exhibitions:

    • “Intersectionality”, Richard Haden, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, FL, 2016
    • “HERoine”, Elizabeth Houston, Elizabeth Houston Gallery, NYC ’15-‘16
    • “What’s INSIDE HER Never Dies, a Black Woman’s Legacy”, Karla Ferguson, Yeelen Gallery, Miami, FL ‘15-16
    • “Dealers Choice Exhibit”, Curated by Dean Kotula, Salty Dog Gallery, ME, 2015
    • “TransCuba”, Rayko Photo Center, Curated by Ann Jastrab, San Francisco, 2015
    • “What Is A Portrait”, Curated by Ruben Natal-San Miguel, Ripe Art Gallery, NY, 2014-2015
    • “TransCuba”, Curated by Fabiàn Goncalves, OAS/AMA F Street Gallery, Washington, DC, 2014
    • “The Gender Frontier and Beyond”, Curated by: NIU Art Museum Staff, NIU Art Museum, DeKalb, IL, 2014
    • "Discoveries of the Meeting Place" , Fotofest, 2014, Houston, TX
    • "Critical Mass Top 50", traveling exhibition: Corden/Potts, SF, Houston Center for Photography, 2014
    • “Science, Poetry and the Photographic Image”, Women’s Caucus, SPE, Atlanta, GA 2011
    • “BED”-Umbrella Arts Gallery- New York, NY, 2010
    • “13th International Photo Festival” Lishui, China, 2009
    • “Burning Down The House:…”, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, 2008
    • “Does Gender Still Matter?” Elizabeth Mix, curator. Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN, 2007
    • “Indwelling”, Joyce Tenneson, curator. Cooper Union, NYC, 2007
    • The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974--1984, 2006
    • “Bearings: The Female Figure”, PS 122, Allen Frame, curator. NYC 2006
    • “7. Internationale Fototage”, Tina Schelhorn, curator. Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, 2005
    • “Fokus Mensch”, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Germany, 2004
    • “The History of Sex in New York City”, The Museum of Sex, NYC, 2003
    • “Koerper IV”, Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna, Austria 2001
    • “Picturing the Modern Amazon”, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, 2000
    • “Manly”, Art in General, NYC, 2000
    • “Discoveries of the Meeting Place”, Fotofest, Houston, TX, 2000
    • “Eight Million Stories...”, NY public Library, NY, 1998-99
    • “Group Therapy”, Tatar/Alexander Gallery, Toronto, CA, 1998
    • “The Female Gaze: Women Look at Men”, Pyramid Arts Center, Rochester, NY, 1998
    • “Gender Affects”, U. of Indiana, Bloomington, IN, 1996
    • “Medical Re-visions”, Delta Axis, Memphis, TN, & PS 122, NYC, 1994
    • “Dress Code”, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, 1993

    Online Exhibitions:

    • BBC, 2015
    • Refinery 29, 2015
    • The Bay Area Reporter, 2015
    • SFGATE, 2015
    • San Francisco Chronicle, 2015
    • New York Times, 2015
    • It’s Nice That, 2015
    • Don’t take Pictures, 2015
    • NPR- Latino USA, 2015
    • Photo Eye, 2014
    • Daily Beast- “The Daily Beast's Best Coffee Table Books of 2014”, 2014
    • Lens Culture, 2014
    • NEA, 2014
    • Huffington Post, 2014
    • Slate, 2014
    • Queerty, 2014
    • Out, 2014
    • OutSmart, 2014
    • Juxtapoz, 2014
    • World Photography Organisation, 2014
    • Slate, 2013
    • Featureshoot, 2013
    • Lomography, 2013
    • “Shape Shifters”, Forward Thinking Museum, 2011
    • “The Gender Frontier”, Zone Zero, 2010

    Consultant and Still Photographer for Films:

    • “It's Not the Sex . . . It's the Gender”, Never a Dull Momend Productions, David N. Gottlieb, 2015
    • “Just Gender”, Top Dog Productions, 2013
    • “Southern Comfort”, Grand Jury Prize Sundance 2001, HBO ‘02 ,DVD ’03
    • “The Transgender Revolution”, Q Ball Productions, for A&E, October, 1998
    • “The Transexual Menace”, Rosa Von Praunheim, for German & French TV, 1996
    • “Down and Out In America”, directed by Lee Grant for HBO, 1985
    • “What Sex Am I?”, directed by Lee Grant for HBO, 1984


    • Pioneer Award, Fantasia Fair, 2014
    • “Discoveries of the Meeting Place”, Fotofest, 2000 & 2014
    • “Top Fifty”, Critical Mass, Photolucida, 2013
    • Lambda Literary Award for “The Gender Frontier”, 2004
    • New York State Council on the Arts grant, 1988


    • B.A. Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
    • B.F.A., M.F.A. Graduate School of Fine Arts, U. of Pennsylvania, in painting. Awarded Thornton-Oakley Prize

  • Contact Contact


    Dye Transfer Portfolio

    Available for traveling exhibitions and purchase.

    "Transformations" is a portfolio of 11 portraits of crossdressers that were made in the 1980s. The portfolio was produced to coincide with the publication of "Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them", in 1989. In January, 1990, the series was exhibited at the Simon Lowinsky Gallery.

    The prints are 15" x 22" on 24" x 30" mats, enclosed in azure clamshell cases, made in Italy. Of the edition of 25, 14 are available. A copy of the book is included with each portfolio. Prices available upon request.


    I am available for assignments from non-profit organizations, social service agencies, and documentary projects.

    p: 212-496-0655

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