Mac, Amos Mac: An Innovator and Icon Among Us.

I know all of my We Happy Trans readers are swooning right now just at the thought of this guy, whom I’m privileged to know by way of community circulation. Amos Mac is an accomplished photographer and quite frankly, my definition of cool. He is complete manspiration within the FTM community and
an awesome reflection of the electric energy coming from the new school
trans* community. 
If you haven’t been reading Original Plumbing magazine,
you have been missing out! With amazing features and wonderful editorial
style photography, OP has been the go-to guide for the transmasculine
community since 2009.

Amos graciously took time to answer a few of our questions and bless us with his cool.
Please welcome Amos to the WHT family. Dive into all the deliciousness that he brings
to our community with his incredible eye for style and his passion for all things

– Noah


1) For all those who are unfamiliar
with who 
you are and what you do,
give us a rundown of who Amos Mac is.

I’m an artist who photographs people… many people I shoot are in the trans and queer community.  I am also a publisher who started Original Plumbing magazine, the trans male quarterly publication, out of my bedroom in San Francisco back in 2009 with my friend Rocco Kayiatos.

Since then, OP has turned into an international magazine with events
and a huge online community. I currently live in NYC where I am
constantly shooting and working on collaborative projects with other

2) What inspired you to create Original Plumbing magazine? How did the
first issue come into existence?

I didn’t see anything out there in the physical world that represented
trans men and the community I saw around me.. I felt alienated by the
media, and as a lover of magazines and art books, I took it into my
own hands and launched the first issue of OP. At first we were just
going to make one issue, but the feedback was so overwhelming that we
just got more and more inspired. It quickly turned into what felt like
a community-based project.

3) What are your personal goals for OP in 2012?

New issues (always), more events, traveling and reaching out to more
people outside of urban areas and documenting smaller trans

4) What’s your favorite issue of OP to date and why?

I can’t pick just one! Every time a new one comes out, I think “This
is the best one so far…” but at the same time each issue holds so
many memories, since I shoot all of the spreads. Every time I look
through an old issue it feels like I’m looking at a yearbook of

5) What other projects do you have a hand in, inside the trans*
community and out and what is your favorite creative hat to wear

Last year I launched “Translady Fanzine,” where I collaborated with LA-based artist
Zackary Drucker on a huge body of work and I turned it into this fine art photo periodical.
We shot it over a  snowed-in long week in Christmas. After the Fanzine came out, the body
of work became a gallery exhibition called “Distance is where the heart is, home is where you
hang your heart” that premiered at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Juliana Huxtable Ladosha, Brooklyn, 2011

I have work in a number of shows that will be
out in the upcoming months, including pieces at
Leslie/Lohman gallery in NYC and Mason and
Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta.

My favorite hat to wear is definitely “photographer,”
of course.

6) How did you find confidence as a trans man and who
are some of your
 trans* role models?

I reached out to other trans men I would see out.
I asked to photograph them. That’s how I got over my
shyness. I used to only take photographs of urban
landscapes because I was too shy to ask people to
model. Once I started to physically transition,
everything fell into place with my photography and
feeling confident in my work and my place in the
world as an artist, because I finally felt comfortable in
my own skin, as much as I could at that time.

My trans* inspirations through the years have been
Michael Jackson, Holly Woodlawn and
Venus Xtravaganza. These are people who popped up on my radar due to tv, film and music in my childhood… people who didn’t necessarily talk about being trans”, but whose existence made me look at myself and my own gender.

7 ) Who is one person you’ve been dying to work with and why?

Most recently it is Janet Mock of the #girlslikeus campaign because
her work inspires me and everything she is doing right now feels huge
to me.

8 ) What does the phrase “We, happy trans” mean to you?

It’s a positive statement. One that is lacking in a lot of trans
representation online. You’re sharing with the world that despite
obstacles, trans* people can lead rich lives and it’s important to
discuss that as much as things can be turbulent and horrible, many
trans* people experience happiness.

Rae Spoon, OP #9, shot by Amos Mac

9) Give the WHT readers some of your best advice on the transitioning
process when dealing with non-accepting family and friends…

Have resources available for friends and family if they ask. Things
like books and articles that you feel would help their understanding.
I gave family members books or photo copies of articles and book
chapters that I felt would be helpful. Also, local resources for
people they could talk to if they wanted to. While trans* people can
find a community online or in real life, family members who have
trans* family members sometimes seek out the same type of community
for support, and that’s something I came to realize was true when
speaking with my mother specifically around my own transition. In the
end, though (and I only speak for myself and my own experience) I felt
that it was healthy that I stuck to my guns and lived my life for me
and not for anyone else, regardless of friends I lost or family
members that didn’t “get it” or want to “get it.”


10) Where can we find out more information about OP, your photography,
and social media sites…


my personal sites:
twitter: @amosmacphotos
facebook fan page:

Editor in chief / Photographer / Publisher




Twitter – @FTMquarterly, @AmosMacPhotos


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