Photo from Jeff Sheng's exhibit, 'Fearless'
Photo from Jeff Sheng's exhibit, 'Fearless'

Artist Jeff Sheng is scheduled to speak at Duke University Wednesday Feb. 24, at Scharf Hall in Krzyzenski Center. He will be there exhibiting his latest photo project, ‘Fearless.’ His project contains photographs shot from 2003 until present of college or high school athletes that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Athletes who would like to be photographed can contact Sheng via his website at According to Sheng’s website the project is ongoing and will be put into a photo book in Sept.

The collection’s venues are intentionally designed to be shown at places where those who enjoy sports will see it.

It is going to be interesting to see the reaction this draws from the sports loving crowd in the Bible Belt.

Sheng’s inspiration for this project stemmed from his time as an athlete and his ability to identify with those experiences.

The idea behind was to exhibit the project in highly trafficked areas that many of the people who share a love for sports with these photographed athletes would have a chance to see, instead of venues like art galleries or museums, where the audience would be self-selecting.

Since then, Jeff has exhibited and spoken about Fearless at almost forty different venues, including the 2009 LGBT Human Rights Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2009 Sports and Sexuality Conference at Ithaca College, and ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. He will also be exhibiting his work at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, while at the same time expanding “Fearless” to include athletes from Canada.

Sheng is also the author of another photobook, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, in which members of the armed forces are photographed, with brief synopsis of their experiences accompanying their photos. Each photo on his website shows military personnel, in uniform, with their face strategically blocked from the camera. The book can be viewed and purchased from

“We are very fortunate to have received funding from the NCAA to sponsor this event at Duke. We are most appreciative of the efforts of Leslie Barnes (Student-Athlete Development) in securing the grant and look forward to sharing Jeff’s outstanding work with the entire Duke campus,” said Dr. Janie Long, director of the Duke Center for LGBT Life.

Nathan James

Nathan James is a former editorial intern for QNotes.