the AIDS activist project
A series of powerful and moving black and white portraits of AIDS activists taken from 1989 through 1998 by photographer Bill Bytsura.
The reality of AIDS hit hard in 1988. From the year 1981 on, I knew AIDS was present, but in 1988 it took my partner of 7 years. It was a painful time, but it was also a pain felt around the world as millions of people lost friends and family to AIDS.
Out of this pain and hopelessness, AIDS activism was born. In 1988 Larry Kramer gave an impassioned speech in NYC and the group ACT UP was born.
I joined ACT UP New York in late 1988. As I looked around the meeting room, I was in awe of the folks in the room. I wanted to make them immortal, I wanted people to know who they were. I knew some would not live long and that added urgency to my mission - the AIDS activist project.
The people in this book are my heroes, my inspiration. Inspiration not only to create this collection of photographs but also to find within myself the courage to raise my own voice. We need to recognize the role activism plays in our lives every day.
And we cannot forget these brave people.
“the AIDS activist project” is part of the Downtown New York Collection at Fales Library, which documents the arts and cultural scene from the 1970s-1990s.
Photographs by Bill Bytsura - Foreword by David France - Design by Scott Williams - ISBN 978-0-9989658-0-2 - 120 pages