April Dawn Alison by April Dawn Alison. Published by Mack.
Upon her death at 67 in 2008, April Dawn Alison left behind a massive archive of Polaroids. By day she presented as a male professional photographer; after hours she took visually stunning and compellingly honest photographs that silently speak volumes about her interior world. Erin O’Toole’s deft handling of this sensitive subject matter and the complexities of publishing work posthumously is to be lauded. The deep red cover of this book vibrates with the same energy, confusion, and passion expressed in the images within. As a cisgender woman only a bit younger than Alice, I recognize her fashions and her stages of aging while also gaining a deep appreciation for the struggles inherent in being at odds with one’s gender assignment. The intimacy of these images, gathered together in book form, will keep the conversation alive and real as we all grapple with how to negotiate the construct of gender
Janet Delaney is a fine art photographer who has exhibited widely and published two books with MACK of London. Her first, South of Market, documented the gentrification of a 1980s working-class neighborhood in San Francisco. Public Matters, which addresses the practice of public life in the Mission District of San Francisco in the 1980s, was published by Mack Books in 2018. Janet Delaney lives and works in Berkeley, California.