Jazz Colgan

Author: Mark Tolbert
Credits: Mark Tolbert

Jasmine Abena Colgan is a proud Colorado Native with a Ghanaian and Irish heritage. She is fortunate enough to have a loving and supporting family, beginning in the core and wrapping around the globe. Much of her work is influenced by difficulties and challenges in life - she encourages the importance in over coming obstacles with a positive perspective. 

Colgan graduated from the University of Colorado in Denver with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in May 2013. With an emphasis in photography, Colgan's senior thesis involved documentation of High School Wrestlers. The continuous mental and physical anguish that athletes regularly put themselves through; pushing to strive for perfection. Our spectators don't see 'behind the scenes,' as to what these wrestlers are actually doing to maintain their skill set and sculpted figure. Documentation became a brilliant style in Colgan's photography career.

In September 2011, Colgan was diagnosed with Vitiligo; an auto immune disorder. The body attacks the cells that produce skin color, resulting in lighter pigment throughout the skins' surface. Depressed, Colgan began an instagram account, and used her phone to create the perspective of how she views her skin. As her disorder transformed her outer appearance, Colgan recorded both verbal and visual emotions in a private journal. After a few years of documentation, she posted perspectives from her journal on her instagram account.. Added a hashtag to encourage her Vitiligo Project, 'Gotta Have Tough Skin' as well as the word 'Vitiligo.' 

In 2015 Colgan decided that she wanted to start writing a book about her life. Combining her rare family story and her Vitiligo Documentation Project, she became inspired from her Grandmother, Regina. A strong Irish woman with an inspirational, loving soul. Memories of Colgan's childhood brought back sadness, but gives strength - inherited from her granny.

In 2016, Colgan became comfortable in her skin - she started connecting with people across the world with the same unique skin condition. Inspired, Colgan wants to encourage others to see and feel their mesmerizing beauty.

'Gotta Have Tough Skin' is a Vitiligo Documentary Project, portraying others that experience the same spotted perspective. Social media has driven Colgan to travel to other cities and states; meeting some of the strongest people in 'our' world.

Spiritually inclined, Colgan believes that everything happens for a reason - things always have a way of working out in the end.

Funny thing is... It all started with a spot.

Recent Connections