In 2003, while in graduate school, Jana started photographing and interviewing transgender people on their notions of masculinity and femininity as they changed
genders. By 2006, after photographing nearly 150 trans men and women and distilling down their stories, Transfigurations—the touring exhibit—was born. This startling and groundbreaking photographic series on the transgender community has now toured across the country—from galleries in New York City to universities such as Stanford—to rave reviews and curatorial acclaim.
The photographs illustrate how gender is both real and illusory, natural and constructed. The subjects, a cross section of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, share their thoughts, in their own words, on transitioning from one sex to the other. By documenting the transformation from one sex/gender to another, the photos explore the importance of the body to gender identity as well as the effects of transformative practices on the body, creating a reality beyond ordinary experience.
Jana's initial investigation into the world of transgender men and their ideas of masculinity resulted in Transfigurations: The Making of a Man, which was her MFA thesis at San Jose State University in 2005. After graduating, Jana continued shooting new work, this time turning her lens to transgender women and their notions of femininity. The new work, along with a selection of the earlier work, became Transfigurations, and premiered in 2006 at the Santa Cruz Institute for Contemporary Art.
"I am greatly honored that the trans community has embraced this work and together we have seen how the power of photography can bring positive change to hearts and minds everywhere, giving a voice to the transgender community where they may not have had one before. Today, the transgender community is emerging into its own place in history, as a new movement, expanding the language of gender and sex," says Jana.
For many years the work was requested in book format. Unfortunately Jana was unable to find an agent to represent the book to publishers, due to the subject matter. Without an agent it has been impossible to solicit to publishers. Thanks to Kickstarter.com and over 100 generous supporters, funding was raised to publish the book, and it official came out in September, 2011.
"Thank you to everyone who helped make this important work possible. Artists can’t complete their visions without public support!"