Tess Duncan


i take photos to catalog things i don’t want to forget.
i write to process the things i can’t forget.
film photo, mirror selfie of tess

as humans, we recall painful memories better than positive ones. this is a means of self-preservation. remembering the pain enhances our chances of survival if we encounter that situation again. we also try to fight this instinct. we are taught to ignore, hide, or cover up negative experiences. if we aren’t dwelling on the memory, we’re trying to repress it. writing offers me an alternate path. one where i face the pain, work through it. where i glean its value and strip it of its power over me. 

excluding negative experiences, i have a terrible memory. photos help with that. they also allow me to share the things that i believe deserve our attention. some of these scenes are more conventional than others. there are nice views from the top, moments of joy or intimacy shared between friends, mundane surfaces transformed when the light hits it just right. but i think that even these more obvious, “photo-worthy” subjects often go underappreciated, at a time when most of us are overstimulated, overworked, overloaded with information. 

photo of jenny scales holding the book and wearing the crop top tee

then there are less obvious images. broken eggs on the sidewalk or muddy rose petals on the train station floor. i find myself drawn to these small, innocuous scenes. there’s something melancholy and forgotten-feeling about them. i like to think that by documenting them, i can invite the viewer to look twice. to notice the beauty that lives on the periphery. to not keep walking by.

- tess duncan (she/her)


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blood pleasure (07/29/21)

pile of "blood pleasure" books laid out on a carpet    
 blood pleasure is a book about self-destruction. this is a story about facing things we may not want to see, truths we may not want to hear. here the settings are uncomfortably intimate. here we confront violence against body and mind. here is a reckoning with our relationship to pain. a study in wounding, healing, and what comes after.      
film photo of tess flipping a page in the book, so you can see the transparent vellum paper
product details:
~size: 5.5” x 8.5”
~length: 30 pages
~binding: 3 binder rings
~front and back cover: red translucent vellum
~contents: poems printed on newsprint paper, interlaced with images printed on sheets of translucent vellum
~1st edition of 40 copies

late bloomer (07/29/21)

photo of jenny scales wearing the late bloomer crop top teephoto of jenny scales turned around so you can see the back

late bloomer is an all-over crop top tee featuring a photo taken in brooklyn, new york. inner fabric is hand-stamped in black ink with a special collaborative logo designed for the artist and quiet year by brooklyn artist and illustrator jenny scales. very limited run, only 21 made. available in extra small to triple extra large.

material: 95% polyester 5% elastane 

photo of jenny scales turned around so you can see the backbeanie babies themed quiet year x T.D. logo

 50% of proceeds from blood pleasure and late bloomer go to callen-lorde, a community health center dedicated to providing comprehensive care to LGBTQ new yorkers, regardless of ability to pay. in addition to primary medical care, callen-lorde offers a range of services including (but not limited to): hormone therapy, trans-affirmative gynecological care, STI screenings, HIV testing and counseling, coordination of gender confirming surgery, mental health counseling and psychiatric services, and more. 




“Wow this is really good." - Judy Hong

"How often can you buy a beautiful poetry/photo collection AND a shirt that looks that cool AT THE SAME TIME? Deal of the century. Don't miss out on either or you will be bloody disappointed. See what I did there? Hey, why did I just get locked out of the website?" - James Cassar, deal watcher