How photography celebrates ‘Future Gender’ in Aperture magazine

by Grace Wang in January 2018
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“As an adolescent, I discovered that by taking a Polaroid picture of myself dressed as a girl, I could escape the confines of boyhood.” Zackary Drucker, artist, trans activist, and producer of the series Transparent, shares how photography saved her life in the opening letter of Aperture magazine’s latest issue. Themed ‘Future Gender’, the issue is an expansive celebration of trans pioneers and today’s trans icons, guest edited by Drucker herself.


You’ll read a thoughtful, candid and heartfelt exchange between Drucker and her personal hero Kate Bornstein (below), the writer and performer whose book first introduced the word ‘transgender’ to her.


There’s a photoshoot of artist and musician Juliana Huxtable by Amos Mac (below), who focuses on reclaiming trans bodies in his work. The two snuck into the American Civil Liberties Union offices at night to do the shoot — Huxtable worked there at the time and experienced disturbing racist and transphobic attitudes from her colleagues.


You’ll wish you were in another era while flicking through a series of personal photographs from Marlow La Fantastique (below), which document the 70s drag queen’s life on the stage from New York to Chicago.


Photographs by Nick Sethi (below) will transport you to Koovagam Festival in Tamil Nadu, India, where an 18-day event sees thousands of members of the transgender community gather for rituals and celebrations.


Photography has always been a tool for encapsulating identities, and it is often through the lens of boundary-dismissing artists that we champion individuals who are gender-nonconforming. Published by the Aperture Foundation, the nonprofit arts institution founded in 1952, this issue of Aperture magazine combines rigorous research with thought-provoking commentary that prove photography’s unique power to shape attitudes, beliefs and norms.

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