Artist Statement

Artist Statement

For the last 15 years, my artwork has explored and focused on the progression of the 21st century LGBT rights movement. This portfolio contains three recent projects of mine.

Between 2009-2011, I photographed over 80 United States military service members who secretly identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual but were prohibited from being open about their sexual orientation due the policies known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  In 2010, my photographs from this series were widely used by the media, politicians, and leaders in the military to advocate for the repeal of the discriminatory law, which was finally lifted on September 20, 2011. The selection here in the online gallery represents a large portion of the collection of images from that series.

Over the last few years, I have been expanding this series to include transgender military service members who currently cannot be open about their gender identity. While the work is not yet ready for publication, I have included one image in this portfolio to highlight the project.

Another one of my ongoing series is a project in which I have been interviewing and documenting young adults who have survived an earlier suicide attempt in their life. I have been photographing these individuals in locations of their youth, in places that carry significance for their suicide attempts in some way.

I hope you enjoy this new work. Please continue to check back often for updates, and feel free to follow me on Twitter (@jeffsheng), Instagram (@jeffsheng), and Facebook (

- Jeff Sheng