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To Survive on This Shore
May 10, 2019 - June 30, 2019
For over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States creating To Survive on This Shore. Seeking subjects whose lived experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location, they traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals share a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States. The resulting portraits and narratives offer a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offer a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
The exhibition includes twenty-two photographs, each paired with text illuminating the stories of those photographed. A hardcover catalogue (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) accompanies the show and contains sixty-five portraits and texts as well as an interview with Dugan and Fabbre conducted by Karen Irvine, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL. The exhibition and catalogue provide a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offer a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. For the past decade, Dugan has photographed people within queer and transgender communities, focusing on the complexities of identity, gender, and sexuality. Dugan earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Dugan regularly exhibits internationally and has work in several museum collections.
Vanessa Fabbre, PhD, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor at the Brown School of Social Work and Affiliate Faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Fabbre’s research explores the conditions under which LGBTQ people age well, and what this means in the context of structural forces such as heteronormativity, heterosexism, and transphobia.
Her research has been published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Social Work, The Gerontologist, the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, and the Journal of Urban Health.
Image: Jess T. Dugan, Caprice, 55, Chicago, IL, 2015