We love this new book by photographer Allie Crewe celebrating trans identities


Your Brought Your Own Light is a new breathtaking book of transgender portraits by Portrait of Britain 2019 winner, photographer Allie Crewe. It brings together 26 of Allie’s poignant transgender portraits, including the image of Grace, a doctor, which won the BJP Portrait of Britain 2019, as well as impactful words by collaborator Olivia Fisher.

Continuing Allie’s journey as a political artist, the book explores various social issues faced today, using photography to give a voice to those who are often denied power and visibility to the most marginalised narratives. It’s a book filled with sincere heart and empathy, with a unique and uplifting tale told on every page.

Florian – “The most wonderful thing about being transgender, for me, is that I get to craft my own definition of masculinity – free of all the societal and patriarchal traditions of what a man is – and one that serves me completely.”

Allie’s photographic portraiture recognises that there is nothing linear, defined or straightforward about femininity, or what it means to be a woman, in the 21st century. Instead, she focuses in on the parts of people that make them different through her work. The parts that her subjects connect with their gender identity in their own distinctive or fluid way.

Allie says: “Stories of transformation fascinate me, especially when they are women’s stories. I love to photograph teenagers, trans women, women surviving illness or escaping violent marriages. It is not just the physical changes that draw me but how our internal, emotional lives change too.”

Majojo – “Nobody who is trans actually chose, you can’t decide. If you are trans you don’t actually get the choice. If it was a choice like a friend of mine says if being trans was a job nobody would turn up to apply.”

“To take a person’s image is, in part, self portrait. I am representing women, exploring their narratives and interweaving them with my own.”

Figures show that 48% of trans people die by suicide and 84% have suicidal intent. Many are murdered and so many experience hate crime simply for living as their true selves. To live authentically, to transcend the limitations of gender as static or binary like the stories contained within You Brought Your Own Light do, takes real courage in 2020.

Jamie – “I think mainly the misconception is, not just about me but about trans people in general, is that we are all like these super sexual beings, that are always ready and lounging around in underwear and stiletto heels and that we have nothing better to do than that!” 

To choose growth and to build a new life is celebrated in these 26 portraits. Use this book to mark Transgender Day Of Remembrance (20 November) this year as we mourn those who died because of hate, and respect those who found a way to live. Hold it close to your heart as you honour the incredible individuals that make up the transgender community of today.

Each of these people brought their own light into this world and it beams through the pages of this game-changing book. Allie has captured a strikingly beautiful portrayal of gender and identity, full of images and words that will stay with you long after you take them in.

Olivia – “I have begun to accept my scars and subtle indentations. Patterns telling the tales of my experience. I only had to trust in the resilience of the clay from which I was formed. Step into the kiln and out into my future. Not as fine china or delicate porcelain, but a person of strength and substance, who knows who they are.” 

Buy a copy of You Brought Your Own Light here and read the participants’ stories in full here.

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