Jesse Egner

Daddy Straw, 2019

Archival pigment print

18.25 x 27.5 inches, framed to 19 x 28.5 inches

Artist proof

Retail value $950

© and courtesy Jesse Egner

This image is part of my series, “Disidentifications.” When I started joining gay dating apps as a teen, I came across the phrase “no femmes, no fats,” written on people’s profiles frequently, defining my body as unwelcome. As a queer person with a non-normative body, this rejection from my gay peers set in motion a battle between my queerness and my body.

This work began with self-portraiture, allowing me to explore queerness through elements such as absurdity, humor, and the uncanny. I then began photographing other queer people in a collaborative process. Collaboration became an integral part of my work, with me often appearing in the photograph with others, where we play and explore together through the images we create.

My photographs do not offer concrete narratives of identity, rather, they present fragmented narratives that exist in a space between reality and fantasy, reflecting the transitional space(s) of queerness. My process is spontaneous, playful, and collaborative, echoing the fluidity and dynamism of non-normative queer identities.

Jesse Egner is a queer artist and educator currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Often taking the form of playful and absurd portraiture of himself and other individuals, his work explores themes such as queerness, homonormativity, mental illness, and body neutrality. He received his BA from Millersville University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and his MFA from Parsons School of Design in 2020. His work has been exhibited and published globally and is included in the permanent collection at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. He is a 2022 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Photography and has recently participated in residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska; Studio Vortex in Arles, France; and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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