The Photo Issue 2019

Intimate Photos Capture a Photographer's Feminine Persona

For this year’s photo issue we’re thrilled to include images from the new book April Dawn Alison. The impressive self-portrait series begins in the 70s and spans 30 years.

by April Dawn Alison
04 June 2019, 4:05am

April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.

For this year’s photo issue we were thrilled to be able to include images from the recently released book April Dawn Alison. Beginning in the 70s and spanning 30 years, the series of self-portraits captures the many looks of April Dawn Alison, the feminine persona of a California-based photographer who lived in the world as a man.

The book, published by MACK this month, features essays by writer and critic Hilton Als, artist and television producer Zackery Drucker, and Erin O’Toole, an associate curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. As O’Toole explains, Alison’s photos “reveal a rich inner life filled with as much humor as pathos, as much joy as loneliness. In them she embodies a wide range of female types drawn from advertising, motion pictures, and pornography. She moves effortlessly from Hollywood screen sirens in tight sweaters to frumpy aunties in high-necked blouses, from pin-up models in string bikinis to dishwashing housewives in rubber gloves, from efficient French maids in starched white aprons to docile BDSM submissives in bras and panties.”

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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.
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April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Andrew Masullo. Courtesy of SFMOMA and MACK.

April Dawn Alison, published by MACK, is out now.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.