My book, called the AIDS activist project, is 25 years in the making. I’m happy/thrilled/excited to see the book finally come out.
My story goes back three decades to 1988, the year my partner Randy Northup died of AIDS. Friends told me about a group called ACT UP and encouraged to go to the meetings to make friends with those who were going through the same thing I was. At first, the intensity of meetings was too much for me.
But I kept returning, astounded by the dedication and knowledge of ACT UP members. The men and women in that room, people from many varying class and ethnic backgrounds had come together to proudly fight the scourge of AIDS. I knew I was witnessing and participating in something historic and much bigger than myself.
As a photographer, I was inspired to record these people and this movement. I had to capture the faces and words of these courageous activists. While the public and media were badmouthing my comrades, I felt: “If people knew about these heroes, they would support our battles against AID, ignorance and homophobia. That would change the epidemic.”
So I decided to shoot formal portraits of ACT UP members. I started by photographing people from New York in my East Village studio. I widened my mission and traveled to the International AIDS Conferences in Amsterdam and Berlin to shoot attendees, and later visited ACT UP Paris. My work took me all over the United States, shooting ACT UP members and other AIDS activists in Miami, Puerto Rico, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
These years of work confirmed for me that I was photographing some of the most amazing individuals in modern political history.
I created the AIDS activist project as a tribute to these warriors of the epidemic– to those who lost and to those who keep fighting.
Follow this link to a private media-only preview of the book. We ask that you not share this link and password with anyone.
Please click on the media release here for information about the formal book launch on September 20 at New York University’s Fales Library.
Hi-res images can be found here: XXX