Book | Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Volume 1. Photographs by Jeff Sheng

0000012ac37712cb4b6901ff007f000000000001.Don%27t%20Ask%2C%20Don%27t%20Tell. Book | Dont Ask, Dont Tell. Volume 1. Photographs by Jeff Sheng

It is the first ever photobook featuring the portraits and stories of closeted service members in the United States armed forces who are currently serving and affected by the laws that mandate the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified soldiers in the United States military. In 2009, American artist Jeff Sheng gained the trust of seventeen closeted service members and flew over 30,000 miles back and forth across the country to photograph these individuals at either their homes or local hotel rooms near where these individuals were stationed. An entirely self-funded and self-published project, the resulting publication features twenty portraits from these photo shoots, along with selected anonymous e-mails detailing the experiences of these soldiers, many of whom have just returned from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Volume 1, also features an afterword written by an openly gay veteran of the Vietnam War, W.M. Hunt, a New York City based photography dealer, art collector and gallery director. Jeff Sheng is a Los Angeles based artist who also teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His photographs have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the Advocate, and his art work has been exhibited internationally including at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

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