"Dugan invites the viewer to reflect on her vision of the masculine identity" while the work "also questions the collective idea of gender and sexuality—specifically what it means to be a man."
About the US-American photographer, Jess T. Dugan (b. 1986, in Biloxi, Mississippi)
Jess T. DUGAN is a portrait photographer and educator, living in St. Louis, Missouri. They received a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2007); a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University (2010); and a MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2014). They always make portraits while alone with the subject and using natural light.
DUGAN is queer and non-binary gender. They came out as gay at age 13, began questioning their gender identity when they were 14 or 15, and now describe themselves as 'loosely part of the transgender umbrella'. They have had chest reconstruction surgery. As of 2019 DUGAN was said to use she/her pronouns but as of late 2020 they were said to use the singular pronoun they, as used by their own website in early 2021. Their partner is Vanessa Fabbre, a social worker and assistant professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
DUGAN and Fabbre's goals for 'To Survive on this Shore' include highlighting an overlooked and under-represented group of people—older transgender and gender nonconforming people—for younger trans people; showing trans people as 'everyday people and how they're living their lives' rather than part of 'a celebrity culture or a Hollywood representation'; and recording the history of trans activists.
Photo books by Jess T. DUGAN
- 'A Moment Collected: Photographs at the Harvard Art Museum' (2011)
'Transcendence' (2012, with an introduction by Dawoud BEY )
'Every Breath We Drew' (2012, 2015)
'Pretty Boys Looking at Me' (2013)
'Look at me like you love me' (2022)
'To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults' (2018; 2019 with Fabbre)
'Letter to my Father '(2017)
- 2015: 'Champion of Change Award', the White House, Washington, D.C.
2018: 'Women Photograph Grant', from Women Photograph and Getty Images.
2019: 'Infinity Award: Emerging Photographer,' International Center of Photography, New York