In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) and the creative trans community, VSCO is debuted a first-time creative collaboration and multimedia Montage portrait series “Every Image is an Offering” with the legendary Marsha P. Johnson Institute and visual narrator Texas Isaiah. The first-time initiative shines a contemporary light on the diaspora of the Black trans narrative through a body of work that celebrates the diversity of the trans experience. The Montage portrait series includes a collage series of rich visuals using VSCO’s newest multimedia-format video tool Montage.
About Marsha P. Johnson Institute: Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Marsha went by “Black Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender. It is the consideration of who “Black Marsha” was that inspired The Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
So much of our understanding of Marsha came from the accounts of people who did not look like or come from the same place as her. As transness is now more accessible to the world, introducing the Institute to BLACK trans people who are resisting, grappling with survival, and looking for community has become a clear need.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of BLACK transgender people. We do this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power.
We intend to reclaim Marsha P. Johnson and our relationship as BLACK trans people to her life and legacy. It is in our reclaiming of Marsha that we give ourselves permission to reclaim autonomy to our minds, to our bodies, and to our futures. We were founded both as a response to the murders of BLACK trans women and women of color and how that is connected to our exclusion from social justice issues, namely racial, gender, and reproductive justice, as well as gun violence.
About Texas Isaiah: Texas Isaiah is a visual narrator based in Los Angeles, Oakland, and NYC. His work focuses on the possibilities that can emerge by inviting individuals to participate in the photographic process, collectively shifting the power dynamics within photography. This approach centers the intimacy created and nourished between a person and a place. He and the sitter cooperatively think about what it means for a person to be at home in their feelings and body. There are plenty of distractions and traumatic experiences that prevent us from engaging with our bodies, emotions, and thoughts. Texas Isaiah believes individuals must have photographic spaces that lead us back to our spirits.