PHOTOGRAPHER, NYC
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Project Statement: thriving

Project Statement: thriving

Thriving is a story about the resolve of five HIV positive men, Derek, Jason, Gabe, Shelby, and Steve. All five men contracted the deadly virus when their was no cure and when many people, including close friends, were dying all around them. For years, they carried around the unimaginable burden of feeling certain that death was imminent. After countless extremely difficult emotional and physical setbacks, hope finally arrived.

HIV is no longer a death sentence and Derek, Jason, Gabe, Shelby, and Steve continue to live and thrive with the virus. Throughout the process of this project, I was inspired by the unflinching honesty, courage, perseverance, and resiliency demonstrated by these young men. Each portrait conveys a sensitive and emotional expression of life. Underneath each portrait is a quote by the sitter regarding HIV no longer being a death sentence. And linking each portrait is a visual metaphor representing life and how all living things have the ability to thrive given the opportunity.

Whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions.”
-
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS

 Precious Life

Precious Life

Derek

Derek

“I’m happy you’re doing this [the thriving project] because there is a huge
generation of young adults that have no fear about it [HIV] and it’s still a
life-threatening illness, that left untreated it will kill you . . . I think that’s lost
on the younger generations."

 

 Persistence

Persistence

Jason

Jason

“I contracted it (HIV) in 1995 and it’s 2018 and I’m still here
and I’m still kicking, and not just kicking but I’m thriving.”

 Pushing Through Obstacles

Pushing Through Obstacles

Gabe

Gabe

"We all live with HIV"

 Budding

Budding

Shelby

Shelby

“It was just, you know, getting by year to year and trying to maximize
what you would accomplish in that year and not trying to get to thinking
too long term, you know, because that was self-defeating. But now, you
can look a little further.”

 Independence

Independence

Steve

Steve

“I never thought I was going to be around this long”

 Thriving

Thriving

   In West Africa in the 1950's, chimpanzees were hunted by humans for their meat. Unaware that the chimpanzees were living with a deadly virus known as SIV, the hunters became infected by exposing themselves to the chimp's septic blood. Once SIV entered the human bloodstream, it mutated into what we now know as HIV.   Over the following decades, HIV traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean, and then to the United States. In the early 1980's in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, healthy homosexual men and intravenous drug users were the first to begin inexplicably dying from immune deficiency related illnesses. Doctor’s and scientist’s soon named the unknown deadly disease, AIDS. By 1984, similar cases of AIDS were reported around the world, including new cases in Hemophiliacs and heterosexuals. That same year, HIV was discovered to be the cause of AIDS, and the following year the first commercial test for the virus was introduced. It took nearly seven additional years, billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost before the first drug to combat the virus was developed. Through a global commitment to finding a cure for AIDS, monumental advances in treatment have been made, and today, HIV is no longer a death sentence.



In West Africa in the 1950's, chimpanzees were hunted by humans for their meat. Unaware that the chimpanzees were living with a deadly virus known as SIV, the hunters became infected by exposing themselves to the chimp's septic blood. Once SIV entered the human bloodstream, it mutated into what we now know as HIV.

Over the following decades, HIV traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean, and then to the United States. In the early 1980's in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, healthy homosexual men and intravenous drug users were the first to begin inexplicably dying from immune deficiency related illnesses. Doctor’s and scientist’s soon named the unknown deadly disease, AIDS. By 1984, similar cases of AIDS were reported around the world, including new cases in Hemophiliacs and heterosexuals. That same year, HIV was discovered to be the cause of AIDS, and the following year the first commercial test for the virus was introduced. It took nearly seven additional years, billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost before the first drug to combat the virus was developed. Through a global commitment to finding a cure for AIDS, monumental advances in treatment have been made, and today, HIV is no longer a death sentence.

Project Statement: thriving

Thriving is a story about the resolve of five HIV positive men, Derek, Jason, Gabe, Shelby, and Steve. All five men contracted the deadly virus when their was no cure and when many people, including close friends, were dying all around them. For years, they carried around the unimaginable burden of feeling certain that death was imminent. After countless extremely difficult emotional and physical setbacks, hope finally arrived.

HIV is no longer a death sentence and Derek, Jason, Gabe, Shelby, and Steve continue to live and thrive with the virus. Throughout the process of this project, I was inspired by the unflinching honesty, courage, perseverance, and resiliency demonstrated by these young men. Each portrait conveys a sensitive and emotional expression of life. Underneath each portrait is a quote by the sitter regarding HIV no longer being a death sentence. And linking each portrait is a visual metaphor representing life and how all living things have the ability to thrive given the opportunity.

Whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions.”
-
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS

Precious Life

Derek

“I’m happy you’re doing this [the thriving project] because there is a huge
generation of young adults that have no fear about it [HIV] and it’s still a
life-threatening illness, that left untreated it will kill you . . . I think that’s lost
on the younger generations."

 

Persistence

Jason

“I contracted it (HIV) in 1995 and it’s 2018 and I’m still here
and I’m still kicking, and not just kicking but I’m thriving.”

Pushing Through Obstacles

Gabe

"We all live with HIV"

Budding

Shelby

“It was just, you know, getting by year to year and trying to maximize
what you would accomplish in that year and not trying to get to thinking
too long term, you know, because that was self-defeating. But now, you
can look a little further.”

Independence

Steve

“I never thought I was going to be around this long”

Thriving



In West Africa in the 1950's, chimpanzees were hunted by humans for their meat. Unaware that the chimpanzees were living with a deadly virus known as SIV, the hunters became infected by exposing themselves to the chimp's septic blood. Once SIV entered the human bloodstream, it mutated into what we now know as HIV.

Over the following decades, HIV traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean, and then to the United States. In the early 1980's in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, healthy homosexual men and intravenous drug users were the first to begin inexplicably dying from immune deficiency related illnesses. Doctor’s and scientist’s soon named the unknown deadly disease, AIDS. By 1984, similar cases of AIDS were reported around the world, including new cases in Hemophiliacs and heterosexuals. That same year, HIV was discovered to be the cause of AIDS, and the following year the first commercial test for the virus was introduced. It took nearly seven additional years, billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost before the first drug to combat the virus was developed. Through a global commitment to finding a cure for AIDS, monumental advances in treatment have been made, and today, HIV is no longer a death sentence.

Project Statement: thriving
 Precious Life
Derek
 Persistence
Jason
 Pushing Through Obstacles
Gabe
 Budding
Shelby
 Independence
Steve
 Thriving
   In West Africa in the 1950's, chimpanzees were hunted by humans for their meat. Unaware that the chimpanzees were living with a deadly virus known as SIV, the hunters became infected by exposing themselves to the chimp's septic blood. Once SIV entered the human bloodstream, it mutated into what we now know as HIV.   Over the following decades, HIV traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean, and then to the United States. In the early 1980's in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, healthy homosexual men and intravenous drug users were the first to begin inexplicably dying from immune deficiency related illnesses. Doctor’s and scientist’s soon named the unknown deadly disease, AIDS. By 1984, similar cases of AIDS were reported around the world, including new cases in Hemophiliacs and heterosexuals. That same year, HIV was discovered to be the cause of AIDS, and the following year the first commercial test for the virus was introduced. It took nearly seven additional years, billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost before the first drug to combat the virus was developed. Through a global commitment to finding a cure for AIDS, monumental advances in treatment have been made, and today, HIV is no longer a death sentence.