In the ‘60s they called me a sissy. In the ‘70s they called me a faggot. In the ‘80s I was a queen. In the ‘90s I was transgender. In the 2000s I was a woman, and now I’m just Grace.– Grace, 56, Boston, MA
projects+gallery presents the exhibition To Survive on This Shore, an interdisciplinary project which is a collaboration between Jess T. Dugan, photographer, and Vanessa Fabbre, social worker and assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, whose research focuses on the intersection of LGBTQ issues and aging.
For over five years, Dugan and Fabbre traveled throughout the United States seeking subjects whose 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 have 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.
While Dugan’s earlier work focused on issues of identity, gender, and sexuality – and often on LGBTQ communities specifically – this is her first body of work that focuses on older adults, a result of her collaboration with Fabbre. Dugan’s portraits are open, emotive, and nuanced, utilizing direct eye contact to facilitate a meaningful exchange between subject and viewer. For the accompanying texts, Fabbre provides
selections of full-length interviews to enhance the viewer’s connection to each subject’s story. The resulting book and exhibition 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
While selections from the series appeared last year in the exhibition Disruptive Perspectives, on view simultaneously at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL and Photoforum Pasquart in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, this is the first solo exhibition of the work.
The exhibition includes twelve 30 x 40 in. and ten 18 x 24 in. photographs, each paired with texts illuminating the life narratives of those photographed.
The hardcover book (Kehrer Verlag, August 28, 2018) contains 65 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 official book release will take place at the opening reception of the exhibition on September 13 from 6-9 p.m.
Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre
To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults
September 6, 2018 through October 10, 2018
An artist’s reception will take place at the gallery on Thursday, September 13, 2018, 5-8 p.m.
4733 McPherson Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63108