From Shantay Robinson’s article for Smithsonian Magazine:
In the self-portrait, the artist is holding their baby behind a screen door; in their eyes is a look of intense love, and their tender embrace of the child is deeply moving. The 2018 photograph by Jess T. Dugan, titled Self-portrait with Elinor (screen), depicts the typical adoration of a parent for a child, but the image is especially profound because Dugan is gender nonbinary, and their partner is a cisgender woman.
“In my practice, I’ve always fused a classical style of photographing with a very contemporary subject matter,” Dugan says. “And that’s a strategy I use to bring attention to queerness and different kinds of identity when thinking about sexuality.” Dugan’s art is among more than 40 stunning works on view in the new exhibition “Kinship,” now on view at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.