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“To Survive on This Shore” Explores Aging as a Transgender Person in America

Posted by on July 8, 2018 | Contests/Events, Photographer Interviews

Hank, 76, and Samm, 67, North Little Rock, AR, 2015

We hear a lot about transgender youth from the media; less so about transgender people as they age with the bodies that they fought so hard to claim. Such is the case with aging in general in our culture; it tends to be invisible.

Even still, there’s a real grace to aging, as Jess T. Dugan proves in “To Survive on This Shore,” a book and photo exhibition that will debut at projects+gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 6.

The exhibition includes twelve 30″ x 40” prints, as well as ten 18″ x 24” prints, of older transgender people presenting their authentic selves to the cameras. The images show normal people, some of them coupled, some of them alone; the age on their faces a thing of profound beauty. Taken over the course of five years, the images capture people across the United States from a variety of different backgrounds. Accompanying texts, collected with the help of Vanessa Fabbre, a social worker and Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, tell the life stories of each of the people in the photographs.

For more information on the work, visit Jess T. Dugan’s website, or follow her on Instagram.

Below is a selection of images from “To Survive on This Shore.” All images courtesy of projects+gallery and Jess T. Dugan.

Tony, 67, San Diego, CA, 2014

Bobbi, 83, Detroit, MI, 2014

Alexis, 64, Chicago, IL, 2014

Sukie, 59, New York, NY, 2016

Sky, 64, and Mike, 55, Palm Springs, CA, 2017

Jay, 59, New York, NY, 2015

Duchess Milan, 69, Los Angeles, CA, 2017

Aidan, 52, Burien, WA, 2016

Caprice, 55, Chicago, IL, 2015

David, 63, Hull, MA, 2015

To Survive on This Shore Book Cover