Made over the course of some thirty years, the photographs in this book depict the
many faces of April Dawn Alison, the female persona of an Oakland, California
based photographer who lived in the world as a man. This previously unseen body
of self-portraits, which was given to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in
2017, begins tentatively in 1970s black-and-white, and evolves in the 80s into an
exuberant, wildly colourful, and obsessive practice inspired by representations of
women in classic film, BDSM pornography and advertising. A singular, long-term
exploration of a non-public self, the archive contains photographs that are beautiful,
hilarious, enigmatic, and heartbreakingly sad, sometimes all at once.
With essays by Hilton Als (American writer and theater critic for The New Yorker),
Zackary Drucker (American transgender multimedia artist, LGBT activist, actress
and producer of smash Netflix series Transparent) and Erin O’Toole (associate
curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).