Click here for Artist Statement
This project is about illness and survival, hope and regret, how we can be both joyful but also feeling at odds with those feelings. It draws on my experience as HIV+ man and a long time survivor. This work may resonate with other people living with HIV and other chronic life threatening illnesses. It might resonate with anyone whose loved ones have battled illness. Hopefully, others will gain awareness from this work.
The work exposes the internal struggles that exists alongside well-being and the joy of living.
I call this project - “Am I Blue?”
“What has been sacrificed and what might have been?”
a life lived more cautiously, paths not taken.
what would have life been like without the loss of friends and community irrevocably altered by this epidemic?
the differences for a adult life spent struggling for survival?
The cyanotype relates to the feeling of sadness and loss.
Angels of the Grove
I have created several photographs in the (National) AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. The Grove recognizes our city’s and our country’s great loss. It’s also a place which has a great power. I am amazed that what grew out of sorrow is also a place of serenity.
This panoramic image, Angels of the Grove shows the beauty and sanctity of the Grove. The angels were the people who stood with their partners, family and friends. This love and bravery helped to change the world. I think that the effect is still being felt today.
Eat – Mourn, This image, a double exposure, is the coming together of two ideas.The daily ritual of taking medication. The rising out of the memorial stone. Recognizing the good fortune of those still here but the relationship to those who weren’t so blessed. This self-portrait represent not just myself but also others who struggles with illness.
Uses 4 different photographic processes to create this quadtych. It suggest the multiple losses of the last 3 decades and the stages of acceptance of death that we must move through. The multiple images creates a community of mourners and survivors. Surviving is never a simple process.
Memory of Medicine
The daily taking of medication may be just one of many task but it also reminds one of your dependence to maintaining your well being.
- I imagined this image for a while before making it. How even doing something daily becomes unclear over time. Only this most recent instance might be remembered. Making a picture is often our strongest memory.
Obsession is a graphic take of the journey and the drug regimens that I’ve taken for over 20 years. If something has to be repeated enough, it will become an obsession. The quest to remain healthy and my fears around my health can be obsessional at times.
Big Pharm – extremely large forms of medication emphasizing the power and importance that these drugs have over HIV+ people and others who suffer life threatening illness.
Every 3 Months – Made up of an image of a test tube. The bright colors and a pinwheel pattern creates a counterpoint to a more sober subject.For people living with a disease, the various tests holds both anticipation while waiting for and the emotional reactions to the results.In the time before effective treatments these tests often foretold the declines in health. The bright colors and simple patterns relates to the repetition of taking these tests and how much easier it mostly is nowadays.
The vocabulary of HIV is that of acronyms. This manipulated typewriter includes those acronyms that describes my experience. This keyboard represents the language that people living with HIV have to learn. Reminding one of foreign language keyboards.
Clean / Dirty
In the world of online hookups and dating, phrases such as clean, disease free, UB2 – are almost ubiquitous on sites and apps made for gay men. What effect does that have on you, if you’re are alway in the less desireable group? As the visibility of HIV and of HIV+ men has lessened, has the relationship between HIV- and HIV+ gay men also changed? The dichotomy setup by this phraseology is understandable but still problematic.
Am I Blue?
Looking at the world through blue colored pill bottles?
How illness can affects ones reactions to life.
Joyful to have the chance to live a long life. At times, one can feel resentful and disturbed to be struggling with an illness. Relieved to be spared the horror and death many struggled with. HIV colors ones relationship with ones health. Taking a psychic toil that has been taken and continues to make upon the life of myself and others.
It Adds Up – visualizes what a handful of pills taken for 24 years looks like.
My Body Betrays Me – Many experienced fear that our bodies could (or would) betray us. Many of us watched for signs of this happening. Those who were HIV+ saw our discordant relationship with our bodies become even more complicated. It was real and continues to this day.
From this day on, everything changed.
Some of the photographs from this series have been presented in the following shows and forums
The two images (2nd and 4th in this photo) were part of the Queer THE Now exhibition at the Los Medanos College Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, CA from Nov 14-Dec 14, 2013.
Here’s a picture of me at the SF Camerawork’s show with my self portrait, Am I Blue?
Me posing in from of my photograph, Am I Blue? at the SF Cameraworks show on Jan. 17, 2014.