Jeff Sheng’s ‘Fearless Project’ photos to showcase LGBT athletes


Photographer Jeff Sheng.

The Fearless Project, a traveling exhibition of photographs depicting LGBT athletes, goes on display on the second floor of Bates Commons on Sept. 23, presented by the Office of Intercultural Education and several campus partners.

Photographer Jeff Sheng’s exhibition opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, in Commons, 136 Central Ave., and continues through Oct. 16. Sheng discusses his work at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, in Commons Room 221-222.

Sheng appears under the auspices of the OIE’s Speaker Series, co-sponsored by the Department of Athletics and the Athletics Committee, the Department of Art and Visual Culture, the Bates College Museum of Art, and the student advocacy organizations OUTfront and Queer Peers.

For more information, please call 207-786-8303.

Sheng is a photographer, artist and sociologist whose artwork has been internationally exhibited. He has taught as a visiting professor of photography and visual studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Harvard University.

Sheng first gained recognition for The Fearless Project, depicting “out” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes on high school and college teams. This work was inspired by his own experience as a closeted high school athlete in a conservative suburb of Southern California.

Since 2003 he has photographed and interviewed more than 160 individuals for the series, and has spoken about homophobia in athletics at many colleges and high schools. Nearing completion, the series will be published next year as a book featuring all the portraits from the 10-year project.

Sheng also created the photography series Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, shot between 2009 and 2011 and portraying more than 80 closeted service members affected by the government policy known by that same name.

Sheng’s work has been covered by media including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC and “ABC World News Tonight.”

A graduate of Harvard University, Sheng holds an MFA in studio art from the University of California, Irvine, and is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Stanford University.