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April 13, 2024

Intimate Portraits of Trans and Cross-Dressing Sex Workers in Santiago, Chile in the 1980s

Paz Errázuriz (born 1944) is a Chilean photographer. She documented marginalized communities such as sex workers, psychiatric patients, and circus performers during the military dictatorship of Chile. Errázuriz has said about her work: “They are topics that society doesn’t look at, and my intention is to encourage people to dare to look.”

She was a teacher at a primary school when Augusto Pinochet overtook Chile’s Presidential Palace in 1973, inspiring her to begin her photography career. She is the co-founder of the Association of Independent Photographers (AFI). Originally titled the “Asociación de Fotógrafos Independientes,” she helped create the AFI in 1981 to make it easier for artists in Chile to find legal support and organize group art shows.

Errázuriz is also a collaborator for the magazine Apsi and of diverse press agencies. She is known for her work in marginalized communities. Errázuriz goes on to say about her work: “...what I photograph has to do with people who are not at the center, who stand outside and have always been subordinated to power.”

Errázuriz began her career in the 1970s, and ever since she has been a voice for subordinate groups in society, more specifically, in Chile. She was a primary school teacher at the time when she started her photography, and was slowly taking pictures “under the radar.”


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