Boston Week: Jess T. Dugan
This week I am featuring image makers from the rich community of Boston photographers…
Jess T. Dugan is a large-format portrait photographer creating intensely honest explorations of a variety of populations, often examining the transgender and gender variant community. In 2007, Jess received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has been exhibiting in solo and group shows ever since. Jess will have several images from a new series, A Place to Stay, at the Schneider Gallery in Chicago opening May 14th and running through July 3, 2010.
I am featuring the same series, A Place so as to Stay, about people and the ways in which they relate to, and are defined by, their environment. Jess’ brilliant use of segregated spaces animates traditional portraits in a way that invites the viewer to explore not only the person, but the place and creates visual storytelling.
The images are of people drawn to a particular activity, collection of objects, or place. While the people are portrayed in a physical space, the focus is not on their material possessions. Rather, the focus is that the creation of spaces and the pursuit of activities that make us feel alive and at home is a powerful and driving force. Yet, it is often understated and private. The quiet and unrelenting devotion of these people to their craft, their passion, or their home is what makes being allowed a glimpse into their world so compelling.
At its core, this work is an exploration of identity and how we come to realize, define, and eventually share who we are with others. By examining the ways that people construct, inhabit, and enjoy spaces, objects, and relationships, I am exploring a larger theme of how we each carefully define our existence in the world.
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