by Michela Mariani

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Project Description

PH is a photobook by the photographer Michela Mariani.
The project has been awarded 1st Prize to the Umane Tracce Award 2022 for having treated the theme of gender transition with great intimacy, without any rhetorical or sensationalistic lapses, managing to render an atmosphere of serenity and awareness capable of recounting with depth Pier-Hélène, the protagonist, who expresses an absolute freedom from conventions.


The complexity of the story is expressed with a coherent language that mixes different narrative modes integrated with harmony.

The book PH tells the story of Pier Daignault, a 70-year-old civil lawyer, who the author Michela Mariani met in 2018, during her artist residency in Quebec.

Pier is transitioning to become Pier-Hélène. In recent years their appearance has changed considerably, but despite this, their relationships and work have not been affected.

They are a successful lawyer, the owner of a law firm in Québec, and a lecturer at the University of Montréal. Their clients, students, and judges, who have always been used to dealing with Pier, view working with Pier-Hélène as an absolutely normal event.


Their career has not been affected in any way. Proof that in a country like Canada, there is no such thing as gender or sex discrimination in the world of work, and how sexual identity is absolutely unrelated to the professional sphere.

The book consists of photos from Pier-Hélène’s family archive, where they are shown as a child and at a young age, when they already dressed as a woman on private occasions. There are also photos taken in the professional sphere, before they embarked on their current path, and also recent images, such as selfies, and portraits taken by the author, that tell of their transformation and how they live their life daily in their new skin.


Book Specifications

Language:Italiano, English, Français

Author Informations

NameMichela Mariani
Country Italy


Michela Mariani was born in Cesena in 1977, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and earned a Master’s degree in Advertising Photography at the John Kaverdash Academy of Photography in Milan. A professional photographer and photography teacher, her work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad. In 2018 she was selected for an artist residency at La Chambre Blanche in Québec and in 2019 at Bòlit, Centre of Contemporary Art of Catalunya.

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