Jess T. Dugan, Photographer:
I seasoned a whole lot of alter as a younger youngster. My mothers and fathers acquired divorced. We moved houses.
And, for me, wanting back, it can be incredibly apparent that images became my anchor. It grew to become the way that I could keep onto the issues that were being critical to me, even as other matters in my lifestyle ended up modifying.
I grew up in Tiny Rock, Arkansas. It was designed pretty obvious to me from an early age that I did not seem like what men and women thought a minimal lady was intended to search like, or I failed to behave the way a tiny lady was intended to behave.
And so, from a quite early age, I experienced a heightened consciousness all-around my individual gender identity and expression. I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, when I was 13, with my mom, and that shift was really significant for me.
I came out as gay when I was 13. I began imagining about my gender id shortly thereafter. And it was definitely superb to be in a spot that was far more progressive and was far more accepting.
My initially activities with images of queer people today, with visuals that validated my identity as a queer person and as a nonbinary human being, was in fantastic artwork images publications. Observing somebody represented who you can relate to or who validates your identification can be extremely highly effective. It can be a lifeline. It can affirm a thing about on your own that you happen to be making an attempt to figure out or try out attempting to realize.
And so, from a very youthful age, I felt compelled to make photos of queer people today, which include myself, that had been as nuanced and intricate and beautiful as I understood these people to be.
I believe portraiture is particularly potent for producing people today really feel witnessed, the two the topics and the viewers. I am genuinely interested in men and women who are dwelling authentically, and I am specially intrigued in that when dwelling authentically for them demands actively working against society or the standing quo.
I have often made use of my photography as way to recognize myself and my spot in the entire world. I had upper body reconstruction surgical procedures when I was 18 to extra intently align my body with my inside gender id. And my mom was extremely supportive of that. She arrived with me to Texas, exactly where I had my surgery.
And when we obtained again to Boston, I manufactured a photograph of us standing following to one particular yet another shirtless. And that was truly the starting of us making shots collectively.
Some of my function is far more particular and a lot more subjective, but even that do the job has a political component due to the fact of who I am, due to the fact of my identity. And which is a thing that I have always embraced. I consider that a large amount of what I do facilities about the electricity of allowing your self be seen and seeing many others.
My identify is Jess T. Dugan, and this is my Quick But Stunning just take on representation and the power of portraiture.