By Josh Hinkle
Originally published on Advocate.com February 27 2012 4:00 AM ET
Photos give us an eye into the past; Amos Mac is this eye for some. He's turned a passion for portraits into two different publications geared toward the transgender community.
Mac, born in Augusta, Ga., moved to Philadelphia with his single mother at 8-years-old. It was just Mac and his mom, he says. With three, older half-sisters who did not live at home, the age difference was so severe that it was like growing up as an only child. And being an “only” child allowed Mac to explore his creative side. His mother took him to art museums and was always taking photos.
“I would look through those all the time as a child,” Mac said, “and wonder what it was like when the photo was taken.”
Being a creative child surrounded by photos started Mac’s love for the art.
“I have always deeply appreciated photographic images, the way that it captures our history,” he said.
Mac has photographed the likes of Margaret Cho, Justin
Vivian Bond, Rocco “Katastrophe” and Zackary Drucker. While he has
photographed these types of mainstream artists, Mac says he is
typically more drawn to “photographing people who are kind of
His photography of these underground individuals sprouted an original publication called Original Plumbing. It targets trans men and is created and
independently published by Mac and Rocco Kayiatos. Mac and Kayiatos
gather their stories in a variety of ways, accepting original submissions via the zine’s website and by reaching out to writers
in the trans community. The models used in the magazine are found
through submissions, but some are found by Kayiatos as he tours the
country with his music.
artistic magazine," Mac said. "It creates a space that goes beyond the typical
transition blogs online. Print media means a lot to me. I
wouldn’t have it any other way than print."
Along with publishing OP
on a quarterly basis, Mac has launched a new annual project — another magazine with an extreme visionary focus called Translady Fanzine. In the first issue, Mac explained why he's producing the photographic periodical.
is a personal expression between two people, photographer and model,
trans man and trans woman, both connected with the desire for trans
visibility and self representation through art,” he wrote.
Only 1,000 copies of the first issue were printed and released in 2011 for
the price of $20 each. As will be the custom of each issue, it focused on the story of one transgender woman — this time, Zackary Drucker.
features Drucker in a hometown environment outside of
Syracuse, New York. Drucker poses in her childhood home
both clothed and nude and at her old high school football stadium clad
only in vintage fur and a necklace. Two photos are shot with Drucker
and her mother on a bed.
“I was hoping I was capturing the hope and the love that they were feeling in the flesh together,” Mac explained.
The photography in Translady Fanzine
has attracted a lot of publicity for Mac. The photographs of
Drucker were on display at the Luis de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles in an installation titled, “Distance is Where the Heart is, Home
is Where You Hang Your Heart.”
And searching for models
for the annual publication isn't going to be difficult. Mac does not plan to produce the magazine more frequently and wants to keep the publication as a one-on-one bonding
experience between photographer and model.
is an interest from so many different people,” Mac said. “It’s going
to be tough.” Mac has, however, started moving forward with subjects to
Apart from his two
publications, Mac has side projects. Mac shot Rocco
(Katastrophe)’s music video featuring Margaret Cho. He also just
wrapped film work this past summer for Valencia.
chapter is directed and cast by a different artist,” Mac said. “It’s an