It's transgender awareness week, and trans joy week, so there seems like no better time to highlight the work of other transgender/non-binary photographers, along with photography projects that center the trans community!
When I started writing this blog, it was my firm intention to showcase photographers from a range of different disciplines, so there was something for everyone - portraits and weddings (which are my own specialism), but also landscapes, wildlife, music, sport, etc. After sitting down for a couple of hours, I've ended up sticking to portrait and wedding photographers, purely because I was struggling to find trans photographers in other areas. There could be a number of different reasons for this - but I might save my speculation on that for a blog post in the future.
For now, if you're a trans or non-binary photographer - whether amateur or professional, film or digital, abstract, portrait or landscape - DM me on instagram! I'll be signal boosting and linking to people's profiles all week, so get in touch if you'd like a share. Wouldn't it be so lovely if we could build a little network of trans/non-binary photographers who could share experience, advice, and our joy in photography? :)
And now, to get the ball rolling on that, here are ten photographers and photography projects that you should follow for trans awareness week - and all year round!
The Ides of Gender is "a photo-essay honouring the beauty and diversity of the trans community." Founded by Zach Oren in 2017, for five years this project has been documenting the trans community around America. The project features portraits and interviews from all 49 states, + Hawai'i, Puerto Rico and Washington DC, exploring the many different experiences, whether difficult or joyful, of being trans in the US. And on top of all that, the photography is gorgeous!
DeLovie Kwagala is hands down one of the most exciting photographers I'm following at the moment. I was first introduced to their work through Pride Photo Award, and instantly found their portrait style incredibly affecting. Kwagala is a self-taught, non-binary queer photographer and social activist from Kampala, Uganda; their work explores belonging and identity amongst the Ugandan queer community. I have absolutely fallen in love with their project The Quingdom - In Transition - a gorgeous, at-times-moving-at-times-celebratory exploration of queer expression and identity.
Diego Maeso is a Bristol based photographer working across the queer scene. He covers a lot of drag and cabaret, regularly photographing for groups like the Brizzle Boys, and he also covers a lot of protests around the city. On top of these gorgeous performance and protest shots, I love Diego's portraits; their Drag Portraits series is a fantastic and gorgeous showcase of drag and the artists that perform it, and their Gender Fluid series is a gorgeously intimate set of self-portraits exploring trans identity.
People Like Us is a gorgeous photography project focusing on the lives and bodies of trans people - with a particular focus on the transmasculine. Founded and photographed by Holly Revell - who has been working within the Queer Community for over ten years - the project almost feels like a love letter to the beauty of trans bodies. I particularly love the care given over to the details here - close ups of nipples, surgery scars, bellybutton hair and ways of binding. The great news is that a book of this project is due to be released next year - I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on it!
Leo Xander Foo is a New York City based photographer. His portfolio is pretty amazing (especially given how young he is!), with editorial work for Vogue, GQ and various other publications. He has a lovely documentary style which really draws me in, and I particularly love his photos from the 2021 Brooklyn Liberation March. On top of that, he also takes gorgeous portraits, including a series of very intimate self-portraits.
Tia Nash is a non-binary wedding photographer based in New Orleans, and ohmygosh do they have it down. Not only does Tia create outstanding wedding images - working with both digital and film photography at weddings - but their instagram feed is a constant source of brilliant advice for anyone trying to work in the photography industry. I'm so inspired by their willingness to embrace their own niche, having created a unique style and approach to wedding photography - which, as they say themselves, can often just look really samey!
Texas Isaiah is one of those photographers whose images stop you in your tracks. He creates gorgeous imagery on a range of themes, including Black trans narratives. I particularly love their series Every Image is an Offering, which "centers and celebrates Black Trans and gender expansive folks in every day", and Pelada, which follows performer Ms. Boogie as she returns to the Dominican Republic. Beyond that, he has a lot of really interesting things to say about the relationship between photographer and sitter, and the systems of care that we can build into photographic environments.
Another wedding photographer, Jasper Chung creates photos to fall in love with. Based in Iowa, their style is very natural and documentary feeling, and the connection they form with their clients shines through. They've been openly non-binary for a couple of years, and often share posts and stories about their experiences as a non-binary person - along with lots of amazing queer wedding content, and posts about making the wedding industry more safe, affirming, inclusive and celebratory for LGBTQ people!
9. The Trans Youth Joy Project | @emdashphotos
This project is bursting with joy and feels so, so needed! Photographed by Emily April Allen, the aim of the project is "to amplify and celebrate the importance of loving families and gender affirming care, and to empower trans youth, during a time of alarming anti-trans legislation." It's an extremely heartwarming set of images, and while there are currently only a few posts on Allen's feed from this project, each new one has consistently made me smile.
Okay, so maybe this one is a bit more self-indulgent, given that it's my own project, but in fairness I'm really proud of it, and it's a HUGE celebration of trans people, photographed by a trans photographer! The aim is to promote visibility and education about the trans community, while creating an empowering experience for everyone who takes part. There are so many exciting things on the horizon for TPUK, including a new annual magazine (the first issue of which I've just finished working on!) and a steady expansion outside of Bristol throughout the rest of the UK. Be sure to follow the project on instagram for updates, as I'll be separating this work out from my own account a bit more over the following year!