The Queer Lens: Photographers in Conversation

Program June 15, 2023, 7 p.m.
Virtual Program

Photography has long been used to challenge mainstream cultural narratives and create new ones. For artists living in a world that often denies their existence, photography can be a tool of empowerment, revealing beauty, vulnerability, and humanity.

Join artists Jaypix Belmer, Jess T. Dugan, and C. Rose Smith for a virtual conversation moderated by visionary curator theo tyson. Each artist will discuss how they use the photographic image to construct queer visual histories through intimate representations of individuals with nonbinary, transgender, and gender-expansive identities. 

This program will have automated captions and is hosted via Zoom webinar. Registration is required.





theo tyson (she/they) is a curator who invites conversations about the sociocultural implications of race, gender, identity, and sexuality through a lens of fashion, art, and culture. Their practice focuses on creating sartorial spaces of reclamation and authority to share the powerful stories of Black women and those on the LGBTQI+ spectrum. theo privileges noncanonical ways of seeing, offering audiences poignant new perspectives from which to view the rich diversity of our humanity. Their previous posts include Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, and the Boston Athenæum. Most recently, tyson co-curated the exhibition Being Muholi: Portraits as Resistance at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and served as an advising scholar for Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the Peabody Essex Museum. Currently, she is the Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Jaypix Belmer (they/them) is a non binary black, indigenous person of color who uses the lens as a tool for storytelling. Born and raised in Boston, MA, Belmer is a graduate of New England Art Institute with a B.A. in Photography and has worked with clients in both private and commercial industries, delving into the subtle intricacies of class, capturing the unconsidered people and places who inhabit the urban landscape while attempting to bring light to the voiceless.

Jess T. Dugan (they/them) is an artist whose work explores issues of identity through photography, video, and writing. Dugan’s work has been widely exhibited and is in the permanent collections of over 50 museums throughout the United States. Dugan’s monographs include Look at me like you love me (MACK, 2022), To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) and Every Breath We Drew (Daylight Books, 2015).

C. Rose Smith (she/them) is a Boston-based artist who uses photography, fashion, and time-based media to thread the connections between identity, memoir, and sociopolitical landscapes. Smith’s recent achievements include the 2023 Prix Picto De La Mode Top 10 Finalists with Picto Foundation Paris, France and 2023 Coup de Coeur Award with Leica Camera Paris, France, 2022 Inaugural Silver List of Emerging Photographers and was a 2021 finalist for the Aperture Magazine Portfolio Review Prize. Smith’s work has been featured in group exhibitions at Hangar Arts Center in Brussels, Belgium; Fotofest  Biennial, Houston, TX; Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio, TX; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; and Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta.


This program is a co-presentation with WHERE ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE AT in partnership with Photographic Resource Center and the Gender and Sexuality Center at Brandeis University.


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