Anna McNay

Display: Every Breath We Drew by Jess T Dugan


Every Breath We Drew by Jess T Dugan

Jess T Dugan began making this series of photographs in 2011
after she moved from Boston to Chicago to begin graduate school. Finding
herself alone in a new, big city, she stopped making work solely about gender
and identity and moved to looking at intimacy and connection. Indirectly,
however, this brought her back to exploring her own identity and how it is
reflected through her relationships with others.

“I repeatedly found myself drawn to people who embodied a
gentle kind of masculinity,” she explains, “whether they were men or women, gay
or straight, because they represented something I either saw in myself or
wanted to embody.”

The resulting book is a collection of beautiful and
sensitive images, portraying subjects of all genders, who, in their chosen
expression, perform a more typically masculine role. It also contains a number
of self-portraits. “I was trying to figure out who I was in relation to other
people and who I could connect with in a meaningful and profound way.”

Dugan’s photographs offer encounters – and moments of
intimacy – with a range of strangers. They also invite us to look inwards. Essentially,
this is a book about developing that most important and intimate bond there can
be: with oneself.

Every Breath We Drew

Photographs by Jess T Dugan

Daylight Books


See the full feature in the February 2016 print issue of DIVA magazine