Jeff Sheng is an American artist whose photographic work over the last decade has focused on the 21st century LGBT rights movement. His photographs on this topic have been featured in international publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, Newsweek, the Advocate, and The New Yorker, among others.
Jeff Sheng first attained recognition for his photographic series Fearless, a project about ‘out’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes on high school and college sports teams. Since 2003, he has photographed over 200 “out” athletes, and he has spoken about and exhibited the Fearless Project at over seventy different venues, including the headquarters of ESPN, Nike, the NCAA, and select locations at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
His other photography series "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (2009-2011), features over 80 closeted service members affected by the government policy known by that same name. Sheng's iconic photographs from this project became part of the public debate around the issue and were extensively shown in the media as part of the commentary over its repeal, including in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC, ABC World News Tonight, and the CBS Evening News. Sheng’s photographs of these closeted service members were also widely circulated among government officials, including top policy makers and military officers in the Pentagon, until “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was finally repealed in September 2011.
Jeff Sheng's work has been nominated multiple times for a GLAAD media award, and he was named an Advocate 40 under 40 in 2011. His artwork is also part of the Sir Elton John Photography collection, among others.
Sheng taught as a visiting professor in photography at Harvard University in Fall 2011, and was a Lecturer in Studio Art and Asian American Studies between 2007 and 2012 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a BA from Harvard University, an MA from Stanford University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine.
He is currently a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow in the department of sociology at Stanford University, and divides his time between his studio in Los Angeles and Palo Alto, California.