From Rica Cerbano’s article for Vogue:
There is a long history of photobooks regarding the act of seeing and being seen. We might say, actually, that photography itself is a meditation on how we represent ourselves – both the outer self and inner self. Jess T. Dugan’s book Look at me like you love me (MACK, 2022) fits into this tradition with disarming delicacy that makes it like a silent song. Through its pages, the American portrait photographer encompasses self-portraits, portraits of individuals, couples, and still lifes to weave through themes of desire, intimacy, and companionship. These images are paired with Dugan’s own writings about relationships, solitude, family, loss, healing, and the transformations that define a life.
Additionally, the photographs in the book retrace the connections that the author has previously established with their subjects. Over the years, Dugan, whose work has been extensively displayed and can be found in over forty permanent museum collections across the United States, has long used photography to understand their own identity and to connect with others on a deeper level. In fact, Dugan’s gaze is ever-present along the flow of images: you can almost feel the bond between them and the subject being portrayed. They know that their eyes will meet straight with the viewers’ eyes: they’re using Jess as an intermediary to express who they are.
Yet, facing Dugan’s project, we can’t help but think how many times we have looked at people through the eyes of love and not for who they really were. And how many times the same has been done to us? Who are we, then, really? How relative is our identity? How much can it waver depending on who we are around and what is going on in our lives?
Jess T. Dugan immerses us in these questions through their own eyes, and those of their friends, tenderly enlightened only by natural light.
Browse the series “Every Breath We Drew” by Jess T. Dugan at CLAMP
Browse all of Jess T. Dugan’s work at CLAMP