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Jacque Rupp

Member of the Month December 2023

Featured image for post Jacque Rupp

Artist Statement

The Red Purse is a story about grief and desire.

Shortly after he died, I bought a red purse, which sat on my dresser for years. I knew I needed to have it, but I did not know why. I never used it. I see now it was a reminder of what I needed in my life as a woman; something feminine, frivolous, and out of character. It gave me permission to reimagine who I could become.

When I became a young widow, I struggled with sadness, conflict and guilt. I was grieving the loss of my own identity along with the loss of my husband. I felt numb, raw and exposed then suddenly felt very sexual and alive. Anything was possible. These in-congruencies were confusing. My wants and needs had been neglected during his long illness. I was ashamed of my new desires.

My mother had become a widow at a similar age. Women of that generation were expected to shut down, to keep their desires hidden. Divorced women could remarry, but widows were expected to stay devoted to their husbands. This was not the kind of life I wanted to live. I learned grieving and living can coexist. I still feel guilt at times, but I can talk about it now and accept that it is ok.



Jacque Rupp is a documentary and fine-art photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A visual storyteller, Rupp uses the camera to challenge and question, offering a unique perspective on the world around us. In her most recent work, Rupp focuses on womanhood, using herself and experiences. As the subject matter, Rupp ventures off in the imagined, exploring issues of identity and purpose.

Rupp received an MBA from Santa Clara University and later worked as an executive in Silicon Valley. Building on her lifelong passion for the visual arts, Rupp studied photography at Stanford University, at the Los Angeles Center of Photography and Santa Fe Workshops. She is on the advisory board for the UNAFF (United Nations Affiliated Film Festival), a documentary film festival and serves on the board of the Weston Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding student access to photography.

Her photographs are held in private collections and have been exhibited widely in juried shows and publications. Rupp’s documentary work on farmers in the Salinas Valley has been used by numerous nonprofit organizations both in print and online.

Jacque Rupp was selected as a Critical Mass finalist in both 2022 and 2023.