30 September 2022

Photos & Intro
Jess T. Dugan

Look at me like you love me (2022) by Jess T. Dugan published by MACK

Look at me like you love me is available at The Wasted Hour store. 

'My creative practice centers around an exploration of identity — particularly gender and sexuality — through photographic portraiture. Drawing from my experience as a queer, non-binary person, my work is motivated by an existential need to understand and express myself and to connect with others. My intention is to create work that facilitates intimacy and encourages empathy, understanding, and critical conversations about identity and contemporary social life. As I pursue these aims, I continually explore what it means to live authentically and how visual representation — particularly photographic portraiture — plays a powerful role in that process.'

I ask you to hold me. I want to see what that looks like. I need to see myself wrapped up in you, to see how your hands fall upon my back, to feel the tenderness of your touch. I want to see my fingers against your skin, gripping, pulling you close.
My grasp is urgent.I want to claim you.

I want to be claimed.

The irises bloomed all at once, vibrant pink flowers emerging from a sea of green, seemingly overnight. I wait all year for this moment, fleeting as it is.

After a rainstorm, the air heavy and wet, I came home to find them laying on their side, the stalks too tall, the blooms too heavy. I wondered if, perhaps, I had made a mistake trimming them the year before, if I hadn’t cut them back far enough.

I tell you this.

You say: sometimes the rain just has its way.

Look at me like you love me
Look at me like you love me

Look at me like you love me


In Look at me like you love me, Jess T. Dugan reflects on desire, intimacy, companionship, and the ways our identities are shaped by these experiences.
In this highly personal collection of work, Dugan brings together self-portraits, portraits of individuals and couples, and still lifes, interwoven with diaristic writings reflecting on relationships, solitude, family, loss, healing, and the transformations that define a life. Dugan has long used photography to understand their own identity and to connect with others on a deeper level. Their process of working slowly and collaboratively discloses moments of heightened psychological intensity in images that transcend the specifics of a particular person or place, engaging with what it means to know oneself alongside and through others.

Using medium-format cameras and natural lighting, Dugan employs traditional photographic practices to depict these contemporary subjects, resulting in images that both evoke and reimagine the conventional dynamics of art-historical portraiture. Brought together here, these photographs function as an extended, oblique self-portrait as much as a catalogue of friends and loved ones. Through a diffuse but studied sequence of image and text, Look at me like you love me brings our attention to one of the most powerful and complex forms of intimacy – that of seeing and being seen.

  • Publisher: MACK
  • Embossed printed linen hardcover
  • 23.5 x 29.5 cm
  • 108 pages

Thank you, Jess, for being part of THE WASTED HOUR.

See more pictures by Jess here: