As the media has quickly tried to catch up with its constant rebranding of inclusivity, trans individuals have been pushed to the forefront, often portrayed inaccurately or in the vaguest sense of their actual existence. Most of these stories are portrayed through a cis-normative lens.
While diversity has been rushed in front of the camera, there still seems to be a lack of it behind the camera. Lia Haley Clay has worked over the past year to create a shift in the way the media creates stories about trans experiences. In her body of work titled Don’t You Think We’ll Get There?, Clay argues that while “trans” or “queer” might be used to identify these individuals, that is not all that identifies them, and their presence belongs here without having to exist in a constant state of clarification.
Moving forward, it is important to note that representation isn’t just about illuminating trans individuals. It’s about including their existence in everyday lives. It’s a world where the places people work, the places people visit, and the people you love aren’t the same as the majority.
How to View Don’t You Think We’ll Get There?
During the day, Don’t You Think We’ll Get There? can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset. Learn more about Projected.
About the Artist
Lia Haley Clay is a transgender portrait and fashion photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Clay was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in photography. She went on to get her graduate degree in fashion photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work seeks to demystify the portrayal of transgender individuals within the media, photographing them from a place of honesty and respect. She often references growing up queer in the South, and seeks the natural light in found spaces that, for her, evoke the places she first started photographing in her grandmother’s backyard.
In 2017, Clay exhibited at Milk Studios, Brooklyn’s Photoville, and in a group show alongside Nan Goldin and William Wegmen at Colette. Her image featuring a trans woman standing on a New York beach was featured in Aperture magazine’s “Future Gender” issue, guest edited by Zackary Drucker and Kate Bornstein. She shot the 2017 and 2018 covers of Luis Venegas’ Candy magazine, and photographed Hillary Clinton for Teen Vogue. In her published work, she pushes to pursue her ideals of portraiture in an industry oversaturated with cisgender perspectives, and to choose projects that push for diversity both in front of and behind the camera.