Guest Appearance on TriVersity Talk

On Wednesday, August 31st, I was the featured guest on TriVersity Talk, hosted by Wendy Stuart with guest host Simone Kraus. TriVersity Talk is a weekly web series with featured guests discussing their lives, activism, and pressing issues in the LGBTQ Community. 


Watch the recording of this broadcast above! 




“House Ball, Harlem, 1984” at ClampArt

May 12 – July 16, 2022


Opening extravaganza:
Thursday, May 12, 2022

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.


          ClampArt is pleased to announce “House Ball, Harlem, 1984”—Mariette Pathy Allen’s second solo show with the gallery.

          Mariette Pathy Allen began photographing the transgender community in the late 1970s. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing across the globe.

          In 1984, Allen was invited to attend and photograph a house ball in Harlem. The competitions began after midnight and ran to 8:00 AM. The space was very dark, and there were many, many categories including the Face Competition, Femme Queen Realness, Runway, etc. Contestants competed for trophies, prizes, and bragging rights. While Allen shot images of the action in front of the audience, she also invested much of her time and interest in the preparations backstage, shooting more intimate portraits.

Drag balls have been hosted in Harlem going back to the post-Civil War era. Writer Thad Morgan notes: “Attendees varied in race, gender, and sex—with some women taking part by wearing men’s clothes—but the main attractions were female impersonators who showed off their gowns and bodies to a panel of judges in typical pageant fashion.” The balls continued for decades and grew in popularity. Concerning the balls in the 1920s during the Harlem Renaissance, Morgan continues: “The era not only allowed African American artists—from painters and authors to dancers and musicians—to experiment with and reinvent their crafts, it also saw popular Black artists experience and explore gender, sex and sexuality like never before.”

          By the late 1960s, the balls were still thriving. And while the pageants had long been interracial, it was common knowledge that the mostly white judges often favored light, European features. At the 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant in Philadelphia a white contestant was crowned winner, when Crystal LaBeija, representing Manhattan, cried foul, claiming discrimination against the Black and Lantinx queens. So, in protest, in the early 1970s, Crystal LaBeija and drag queen Lottie LaBeija established the House of LaBeija, the first ever ballroom “house,” with Crystal as the house mother.

          From the beginning, house balls welcomed Black and Latinx queer, gay, and trans people. Functioning more as families than teams, the houses “were led by house ‘mothers’ or house ‘fathers’ to guide and groom their house ‘children’ for the world.” House culture thrives today across the country in many cities, especially in the Northeast.

Balls provide both a physical and mental space for the celebration and exploration of gender, race, and a wide range of societal themes. Categories offer moments to bask in the cultural types and personas that influence how individuals see themselves and the wider world. The ball functions as an incubator of self-identification and realization. Many of Mariette Pathy Allen’s images have focused on the public experiences and moments in the lives of transgender individuals. The 1984 house ball in Harlem offered Allen an opportunity to watch a community relish varying projections and expressions of selfhood.

Mariette Pathy Allen’s first book, Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them, was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community. Her second book, The Gender Frontier, is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in the United States. It won the 2004 Lambda Literary Award in the Transgender/Genderqueer category. Other books include TransCuba and Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand.

          In 2020, Queer|Art, a New York nonprofit dedicated to promoting the work of LGBTQ+ artists, launched a new $10,000 grant for Black trans women artists. The award, called the Illuminations Grant, was developed in collaboration with photographer Mariette Pathy Allen, writer and consultant Aaryn Lang, and multidisciplinary artist Serena Jara. Allen single-handedly endowed the award.

          Mariette Pathy Allen’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York City; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York City; New York Public Library, New York City; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Reiss-Engelhorn Museum, Frankfurt, Germany; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, Indiana; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; McEvoy Family Collection, San Francisco, California; Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania; and Museum of Photography, Lishui, China.

          Her work will be archived at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s Studies at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

For more information and images please contact Brian Paul Clamp, Director, or see www.clampart.com. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


First Edition of “Antidote Curates”

“Dedicated to the work of the American Mariette Pathy Allen, who has photographed people whose gender deviates from the norm for more than 40 years, this first edition of Antidote Curates presents a selection of photographs by this pioneering artist, whose work has notably contributed to changing the perception of transgender and non-binary people. Coming to emphasize the crucial importance of her work, it is the first work to bring together photos of the artist that span such a wide spectrum of time (from the late 1970s to the 2010s).”


Read more: https://magazineantidote.com/mode/antidote-box/

Purchase: https://magazineantidote.com/magazine/





“Transformations” at ClampArt

February 25 – April 10, 2021 

Opening reception:
Thursday, February 25th, 2021
2.007.00 p.m.

ClampArt is pleased to announce “Transformations”—Mariette Pathy Allen’s first solo show with the gallery.

Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over forty years. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing across the globe. Her first book, published in 1990, was titled Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them. The publication was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community.

The series “Transformations” started with black-and-white images in New Orleans on the last day of Mardi Gras 1978: “[W]hen by fluke, I stayed at the same hotel as a group of crossdressers, one of whom became a friend,” writes Allen. “This chance meeting took me into a mostly closeted world of men who need to express their ‘feminine sides…’ Realizing early on that I had stumbled upon something potentially liberating and almost completely misunderstood, I set out to ‘de-freakify,’ and to offer a different view.”

Allen produced a portfolio of 11 dye transfer prints to coincide with the release of the book, Transformations. The exhibition at ClampArt includes the complete portfolio of color vintage prints, which consists of portraits of crossdressers shot in the late 1970s and 1980s. The same series was exhibited 30 years ago in January 1990 at the Simon Lowinsky Gallery in New York City. ClampArt’s show also includes a selection of black-and-white prints by Allen shot in the same era.


For more information and images please contact Brian Paul Clamp, Director, or see www.clampart.com. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Julia Margaret Cameron Award Honorable Mention

Mariette Pathy Allen received an Honorable Mention in the Portrait Series category of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for three photographs from her series “Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand.” 

The 14th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award was juried by Elizabeth Avedon, Rebecca Robertson, and Analy Werbin. A total of 805 photographers from 67 countries have submitted 6,240 photographs for consideration of the pre-selection team of the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards, and the final selection of the jurors.The selected photographs will be included in an exhibition at FotoNostrum in Barcelona from March 4 – March 28, 2020.

For more information, visit The Photography Gala Awards website.



Feature in Metal Magazine for ‘Rites of Passage’

(Link to article HERE)

‘Her archive consists of thousands of photographs, interview transcripts
and materials related to a career dedicated to supporting and
documenting trans and gender-variant communities. In the exhibition,
curated by Lissa Rivera, the main focus is on work created from the
late-‘70s to the mid-2000s.’

-Zoe Sinclair



Opening for “Mariette Pathy Allen: Rites of Passage, 1978 - 2006” at The Museum of Sex

Opening for “Rites of Passage” Exhibition, on display at the Museum of Sex from March 28 - September 8

The selection largely highlights a time before the internet, when often hard-to-find newsletters and magazines were essential lifelines, and protests and in-person conferences were one of the few safe spaces to be ‘out.’ On display, you’ll find a record of Pathy Allen’s process before digital photography: darkroom work prints, photographs from color slides, hand-written notes, DIY programs for events—all records of a time far more limited, yet extremely passionate in the hope for a more equal future.


Feature on Dazed Digital

Four decades of photos show American trans communities living and loving

“There are many markers that make Pathy Allen’s pre-internet era ephemera a powerful historical source for the progression of gender equality. Her close ties to her subjects affirms their authentic representation, while her pledge to photographing them in mundane settings (simply living life) illuminates the humanism at the heart of the battle at a time when these communities were largely stripped of their humanity.”

-Lexi Manatakis





2 Photographs featured in “Photography on a Postcard”

Photography on a Postcard (POAP) is back for its second year as the official charity partner of Photo London. POAP presents a unique chance to own a signed mini masterpiece by a well-known photographer. We aim to democratise the Photo London experience by placing all the photographers on a level playing field and starting off the bidding at the same price. Each 10 x 15cm work will be up for anonymous auction with photographers’ names revealed the day after the auction ends meaning the buyers will be in for some happy surprises. 100% proceeds donated to The Hepatitis C Trust to help them in their aim to eliminate hepatitis C in the UK by 2025. Auction runs 8th - 22nd May 2019 on Paddle8. Info on how to register to bid coming soon.



Feature in C☆NDY Magazine

Recent feature in C☆NDY Magazine, 12th Issue:

“Mariette has been photographing the transgender community for 40 years, and indeed, her portraits are perhaps the most heart-warming we’ve ever seen. There’s so much beauty and kindness and respect in them, and yet they feel so very raw and honest. Through her artistic practice, Mariette has been a pioneering force in the spread of gender consciousness, contributing to many very important cultural and academic publications and lecturing around the world.”

-Luis Venegas






New Book Now Available: Transcendents

TRANSCENDENTS: SPIRIT MEDIUMS IN BURMA AND THAILAND

Available on Amazon and other book stores

Photographs by Mariette Pathy Allen
Essay by Eli Coleman, PhD
Preface by Zackary Drucker


DAYLIGHT BOOKS / NOVEMBER 14, 2017

“As a westerner, I will never understand or experience the mystery,
or the spirituality of mediums, or how they know things that I can never
know. They are otherworldly when possessed, impenetrable,
transgressive. I search for their spirits through my camera lens. I
watch and learn, and suspend disbelief.”

– Mariette Pathy Allen


Using Format