featured gallery for December 2013

After Montezland

Dedicated to Mario Montez (1935-2013)

You're there with a camera. You have a moment to yourself. You're not on the front line, for once. Wonder manifests itself. You make a photograph of it. You see in metaphors. You press the button.

Look up at monuments melting. Some things take thousands of years to decompose. Other forms last mere seconds. You can’t see most of it anyway because we’re time-based too, and senses have their own parameters. In the grand scheme, you come to appreciate that nothing in your life lasts that long. It’s a nice thought really. We all participate in this splendid plane of existence. But we're not always being chopped up in the machinery. In those moments between swinging blades, you make notes - you pick up a camera.

Photography like this proves something between you and the unknown. You’re playing with this magical thread. A web of Decisive Moments that you know Truth will land right in the middle of, so you take it easy. One thread here - one thread there.

After great loss, are you less obsessed with yourself? You were driving this project called your life. All of a sudden you’re launched into a kind of outer space. No traction. No clear direction. Vague idea that back to Earth is an option, but you don’t know how to do it. And you’re not sure that’s where you want to go either. If you can learn from this, the rest of your days will be fuller. More creating. More communing.

You get your feet planted again. But something inside you has converted. It’s a kind of awareness you got from losing someone you love, or getting sick, or both. Is this a relatable situation? You get some star-shine in you that you didn’t have before. The senses that were limited before get some kind of extra-perceptual ‘top-up’ from losing a friend or losing your old self.

I appreciate my downtime now. I don’t have a program for it though. I lost someone close to me recently. On September 26th this year, legendary drag performer and inspiration to many, Mario Montez died from a stroke. We were collaborators, and he was like a grandfather to me – and queer! So many from his time are lost, many due to the ravages of AIDS. He was a rare and magical being.

Today I'm drawn to the artists in this web gallery who have lived, who are living, with HIV. Survived. Surviving. Creating! Their images are tender, quiet wondrousness. As is.