It’s 2015! Here’s an Update:

Turns out, I’ve been doing less photographing of things lately, and more talking/writing. I miss my camera, but I’m also excited about finally growing into my identity as an occasional writer, too.

So, in list form, here’s some stuff that’s happened recently:

1. I heard about the Leelah Alcorn story early on, and got pissed off that no one was covering it (which changed quickly). I wrote a story about it for Huffington Post Gay Voices.

2. That led to a guest spot on HuffPost Live’s QueerView with Josh Zepps:

3. I wrote a piece about my complicated relationship with my father, his criminal history, and his death in prison for xoJane.

4. I’m this week’s NY1 New Yorker of the Week! I got to be on live television for the first time! Exciting! Terrifying! Here’s the segment (live interview to come):

2015 is off to a good start!

Jess + Adrian in Brooklyn Bride! | Brooklyn Wedding Photographer

Jess + Adrian’s super cute DIY Brooklyn wedding is up over on Brooklyn Bride. Click to see more!

Want us to shoot your wedding? Head on over to we are for each other for more information.

Jess + Adrian's DIY Brooklyn wedding

Jess + Adrian's DIY Brooklyn wedding

Jess + Adrian's DIY Brooklyn wedding

Jess + Adrian's DIY Brooklyn wedding

Live Through This interactive exhibit at Freeman Space in Brooklyn

I’m happy to announce the first interactive, multimedia Live Through This gallery exhibition, going on through October 2 at Freeman Space in Greenpoint!

The opening party was fantastic! I’m so excited to see the work exhibited the way I’ve envisioned since the beginning. I love that viewers can listen to the raw interviews as they look at the portraits, but there’s so much more to it.

The press release is below. If you’re local, please come out and take a look!

Live Through This at Freeman Space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC

Freeman Space is proud to present Live Through This: a portrait and oral history project. On the heels of National Suicide Prevention Week, the exhibition showcases photographer Dese’Rae L. Stage’s ongoing portrait and oral history series on suicide attempt survivors. Attempt survivors are a group forced into anonymity, shamed, and stigmatized by a society misinformed about emotional trauma and resulting preventable deaths.

By pairing portraits with curated transcripts of the life experiences of attempt survivors, as told to the artist, Live Through This illuminates both the inner workings of suicidal minds and the bodies in which they live. It reveals a depth and breadth of experience of a group not limited by age, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender presentation, professional/academic standing, or socioeconomic status. Live Through This is collaborative, socially engaged art, inviting attempt survivors to come out of the shame closet in an act of advocacy through story telling and own their experiences publicly, using their full name and likeness. Live Through This inspires compassion and underscores the fact that suicide affects us all—no one is immune. It encourages the viewer to look into the eyes of the subject, to fill their shoes and meet them in their humanity.

Stage began the project four years ago and, in that time, has interviewed and photographed 103 attempt survivors in 11 US cities. She has been invited to speak by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, and the American Association of Suicidology. She has written for xoJane and Huff Post TED Weekends, performed her story for the Story Collider, and appeared on the Glenn Beck Program, Fox News, and BBC World Have Your Say. Coverage of the project has included The New York Times, NPR, Associated Press, The Guardian, and others.

This exhibition peels back the cloak of anonymity and builds awareness surrounding the taboo topic of suicide. It will reveal new portraits that have not yet been made public and prompt interaction around the issue with interactive elements and events, including a unconventional guided tour, an online game called “Depression Quest” (which simulates life with depression, for those unfamiliar), audio and video of subjects’ interviews, and talks throughout the exhibition run.

• September 16, 7P / Opening Party
• Sept 22, 7P / A conversation with the photographer and survivors
• Oct 2, 7P / Closing Party



Dese’Rae L. Stage is a photographer, writer, and suicide awareness advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from East Tennessee State University and is trained in crisis intervention. Her personal experiences with self­-injury and a suicide attempt, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and a lack of resources for attempt survivors, served as the impetus to create Live Through This.

Isabella Bruno creates pop-­up exhibitions soup ­to­ nuts. Her mission is to bring amazing, educational, joy ­filled, interactive experiences to the general public. She curates subject matter that is hyper-­local, timely, and relevant to make exhibitions with a unique sense of time and place. bruno­



Freeman Space is an intimate space for work and play in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Our mission is to foster big engagement in a small space through unique topics under the umbrellas of art, culture and social science. We present creative non­fiction through exhibitions and events. We believe more can be done with less.

An accidental Facebook rant

Yes, I remember. Vividly. No, I won’t forget.

On a Tuesday morning not three months after I moved away from home and struck out into the world as a new adult, I (and the rest of us) was denied the ability to ever believe that I was really and truly safe in this country; that our politics could ever be as right and good as our government would have us believe; or even that our government truly has our best interests in mind, as its people.

(On a second reading of this, I totally sound like a self-righteous, entitled white kid, so I’m gonna go ahead and give you a disclaimer: ‪#‎firstworldproblems‬.)

I live in this city. I think about it all the time—the things that were lost and how quickly we can become a target again. I’ve lived in fear ever since that day. I fear the very possible moment of another attack: of maybe sitting on the train when it happens, having taken the last moments of seeing the person I love the most for granted, of dying alone (I’m also an extremely anxious and overzealous—involuntary though it may be—disaster-thinker, so do with that what you will). 9/11 changed our lives irrevocably, all of us, and most especially those of us who inhabit this city where, what was once a hole in the ground filled with mangled steel and the leavings of 3,000 lives, is now a museum collecting money from gawkers come from all points on the globe and sucking up our tax dollars.

Si ves algo, di algo. If you see something, say something. It’s plastered all over this city: a demand that we pay attention to our surroundings, that we be on the defensive every single day.

I see something, so I’m going to say something: I’m really conflicted. I love Facebook. It’s a nice distraction and a key way to get important messages out into the world. It’s nice to see what’s trending and what people are talking about. But my feed is full of meme-style photographs of the Tribute in Light, hashtagged ‪#‎neverforget‬, and it feels like we’re minimizing what happened. This isn’t the most recent cute thing George Takei posted or Jennifer Lawrence’s vagina (which is, somehow, more important than all the other famous vaginas that have been leaked on the internet). It lacks gravitas. We post a meme and we move on. We think about where we were when we found out (I’d just failed my first chemistry test as a college student), and we forget in the next moment. We don’t think about it for the next 364 days of the year, until it’s time to post a new meme.

9/11 affected me deeply. I feel guilty and kind of disgusted with myself for claiming it the way I do, as if it was mine. I wasn’t here for 9/11. I was tucked away in my warm little dorm room in Orlando, homesick and sobbing and full of fear. I swore I’d never move to NYC. I didn’t lose anyone in the attack. I’d never been here, nor had I ever had a desire to be. I had no connection to the city. But there it was: the settling in of a fear that lives in me every day.

This day feels, to me, like it should be one of quiet reflection (yes, I’m aware that, in writing this, I’m contradicting myself) and gratitude, but also one in which we really think about our politics and how our decisions affect others the world over. It should be a day where we commit to making this shitty world a better a place to live in, just the tiniest bit better, every single day. And it should be a day of remembrance—not only of those lost on 9/11, but of those we’ve lost in all the days since, because we have our interests and our soldiers in business we shouldn’t. Yes, it was a terrorist attack, but we have blood on our hands too. A lot of it. Now, that’s something we should never forget, and then we should set about finding ways to change it.

FOX 7 Austin at the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium

The same day I appeared on the Glenn Beck Program, I was also interviewed by Fox 7 Austin’s Ashley Paredez. Video below.