Jess T. Dugan: Look at me like you love me

Jun 20, 2024 — Sep 28, 2024
Building Exterior

I want to tell you things; I want you to know my story.

There is so much I can’t say in my photographs, though it’s all there, just below the surface, if you know what to look for.” –Jess T. Dugan

About the Exhibition

Look at me like you love me is a photographic installation by artist Jess T. Dugan which explores desire, intimacy, companionship, and the ways our identities are shaped by these experiences. In this highly personal collection of images, Dugan brings together self-portraits with portraits of individuals and couples, interwoven with diaristic writings reflecting on relationships, solitude, family, loss, healing, and the transformations that define a life. 

Dugan uses photography to understand their own identity and to connect with others on a deeper level. Dugan’s subjects often reflect a more expansive representation of gender than is typically seen in contemporary visual culture. Dugan is drawn to subjects who embody an inner strength alongside the ability to be open, present, and vulnerable – particularly when they embody an identity that is not supported by mainstream society. On the topic, Dugan says, there are elements of gender and sexuality in Look at me like you love me, but it’s more about being a person, what it means to be alive, and what it means to connect with other people.”

Images from Look at me like you love me will be displayed as large-scale window murals along the Monroe Center side of GRAM.

This project is made possible in part by support from Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.‘s Activate Grant program.