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Powerful Portraits Make Stock Photography More Trans Inclusive

Stock photos are a thermometer for culture and representation–or lack thereof. The types of people usually featured in stock images are often white and gender normative: people who are considered “normal” enough to represent a broad range of experiences by the companies that commission them. But a new project by the British-based photographer Bex Day brings an often excluded group of people to stock photos: transgender people.

[Photo: Bex Day]
The series, underwritten by Adobe, features portraits of a wide range of people, including both trans men and trans women, of all ages and stages of transitioning. It’s a refreshing look at a community of people that are so often invisible in the public sphere.

[Photo: Bex Day]
Each of the photos focuses on a single person, adeptly giving them an emotional depth and humanity that transgender people aren’t often afforded. One shot depicts 54-year-old Michaela Robertson, who began cross-dressing in 2008 before coming out in 2016. She wears a blue sweater dress, her arms resting on a wire fence behind her. Her expression is weary, but her head is held high and her chest is out–a pose that suggests she’s defiantly taking up space in the world. Another portrait shows Lulu Love, age 23, in a state of undress but wearing a guarded expression. Bex’s portrait of Berlin-based Alexander Norton, age 27 and in the process of transitioning, focuses on his on his face, which is partially obscured in shadow.

The photos aren’t the first effort to make stock photography more inclusive–Representation Matters is a full collection of body positive and diverse stock photography. In this case, Adobe partnered with Day for the series to honor the International Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, and has deemed the month of March’s visual trend to be “The Fluid Self.”

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