The eyes have it: Photographer Jess T. Dugan’s remarkable portraits of masculinity in the LGBT community enlighten and inspire

By : Billy Manes
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There’s an almost jarring sense of intimacy as you wander through photographer Jess T. Dugan’s Every breath we drew exhibit sparsely occupying the center of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. All the white spaces separate the moments. Faces, eyes especially, greet the viewer, and, without a word uttered, people in portraiture open themselves up to judgment and understanding. It’s a bit of “#nofilter” exuberance, though the filter is Dugan herself.

The exhibit, ostensibly about confronting notions of masculinity and how they play out in the LGBT community, is the brainchild of Dugan, who has been widely praised for her technique and ability at capturing moments and souls and all of the things that make art so evocative.

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10.8.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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“Turn and face the strange,” a certain crazy-eyed pop-cultural god once warned us through the bedazzled bullhorn of a 1970s rainbow of weathered hope. “Ch-ch-changes” were at the root of David Bowie’s 1972 rhythmic cause for alarm and call to arms, a sort of anthemic response to a society teetering on various brinks, with only the scary monsters and super freaks holding on to any notion of prescribed normality. Everything – from war crises to social shifts to women’s rights to gay rights – was caught in the shuffle, and, these days, we’re better for it, right? Plate tectonics, changing fads, political upheaval and shifts in the weather have all resulted in who we are right now. And, in many ways, we are better for it. In some, we are far worse.

This week’s Watermark explores the changes we’re going through, both nuanced and on the real-estate surface, against the backdrop of Orlando’s Come Out With Pride celebration, of which we are always proud to be a part. While many, including those of us making journalistic noise at this publication, are urging caution in just how the LGBT community evolves from dissimilation to assimilation, how we negotiate our path into the grand old world of marriage and acceptance and infinite joy, we’re also aware of the shoulders upon which we’ve stood to get us here, even to get us in the conversation. You’ve heard this lecture before: Don’t forget from where you’ve come and never forget the history upon which you stand. You get it.

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