Fine Art Photography Daily

Jess T. Dugan: Every breath we drew

Hunter_2011I have been following Photographer Jess T. Dugan’s remarkable trajectory for a number of years and have been more than impressed by the passion and perspicacity that she brings to her work.  There is a level of excellence to her art making: nuanced deep seeing combined with insightful articulation that results in photographs that are truly exceptional.  I am thrilled today to share Jess’ Kickstarter Campaign  created to raise funds for a monograph of her decade long project of photographic portraits, Every breath we drew.  It’s a project that explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community from a highly personal, intimate and humanistic point of view. Please consider donating to this campaign and making her book a reality.

Jess’ Kickstarter states: In September 2015, Every breath we drew will be published as a photobook by Daylight Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books.  By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine-art, Daylight’s uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world-at-large.

The release of the book will coincide with the opening of a solo museum exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida organized by Curator Amy Galpin.  The hardcover book, Dugan’s first monograph, will include approximately sixty color photographs as well as an essay by Galpin and an interview between the artist and internationally-renowned photographer Dawoud Bey. 

In addition to the initial book launch at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, book release events are planned at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, IL and at Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA.  Kickstarter backers will be invited to all three book launches, as well as to any additional events or book signings following publication. 

Partial funding for the book is provided by the Cornell Museum of Fine Arts and by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, but its ultimate publication depends on your support.  Thank you for your help making this book possible.

Jess and Vanessa_2013

Every breath we drew

Every breath we drew explores the power of identity, desire, and connection through portraits of myself and others. Working within the framework of queer experience and from my actively constructed sense of masculinity, my portraits examine the intersection between private, individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others. I photograph people in their homes, often in their bedrooms, using medium and large format cameras to create a deep, sustained engagement, resulting in an intimate and detailed portrait.

I combine formal portraits, images of couples, self-portraits, and photographs of my own romantic relationship to investigate broader themes of identity and connection while also speaking to my private, individual experience. The photographs of men and masculine individuals act as a kind of mirror; they depict the type of gentle masculinity I am attracted to, yet also the kind I want to embody. Similarly, the photographs of relationships speak to a drive to be seen, understood, and desired through the eyes of a another person; a reflection of the self as the ultimate intimate connection.

By asking others to be vulnerable with me through the act of being photographed, I am laying claim to what I find beautiful and powerful while asking larger questions about how identity is formed, desire is expressed, and intimate connection is sought. –Jess Dugan





Dallas lying on the bed_2012







Ryan and Josh_2013

Self-portrait (muscle shirt)_2013

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