In this highly personal collection of work, Dugan brings together self-portraits, portraits of individuals and couples, and still lifes, interwoven with diaristic writings reflecting on relationships, solitude, family, loss, healing, and the transformations that define a life. Dugan has long used photography to understand their own identity and to connect with others on a deeper level. Their process of working slowly and collaboratively discloses moments of heightened psychological intensity in images that transcend the specifics of a particular person or place, engaging with what it means to know oneself alongside and through others. Using medium-format cameras and natural lighting, Dugan employs traditional photographic practices to depict these contemporary subjects, resulting in images that both evoke and reimagine the conventional dynamics of art-historical portraiture. Brought together here, these photographs function as an extended, oblique self-portrait as much as a catalogue of friends and loved ones. Through a diffuse but studied sequence of image and text, Look at me like you love me brings our attention to one of the most powerful and complex forms of intimacy—that of seeing and being seen.
Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of identity through photographic portraiture. Dugan’s work has been widely exhibited and is in the permanent collections of over forty museums throughout the United States. Dugan’s monographs include To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) and Every Breath We Drew (Daylight Books, 2015). They are the recipient of a Pollock- Krasner Foundation Grant, an ICP Infinity Award, and were selected by the Obama White House as an LGBT Artist Champion of Change. They are represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, IL.