"Untouchable" HIV Project. 2003 - Present

34 images Created 10 Aug 2020

Inspiration for a project comes from my desire to learn about my present world, past world, the world inside me. Most of my projects have been extremely personal quests. I have created cameras that deal with landmark times in my personal history to further explore the depths of those transitional moments. The Untouchable or HIV Camera started with a conversation with one of my best friends about what his life has been like before and after being diagnosed HIV positive. In our conversations it was clear I couldn’t see the world the way he does. The way people see him. The stigma of HIV. And what daily life is like living with an unseen villain that is always battling inside. With the help of my friend I created the “Untouchable” project. A project of understanding that will evolve and grow, until HIV is no longer a health and political issue.

The Untouchable camera has three clear cylinders that the HIV+ blood circulates through with the help of a pump I made from Rare Earth Magnets that slide on Titanium rails. The blood then flows between two sheets of Acrylic that are five thousands of an inch apart and mounted right in front of the pinhole. I tested with my own blood and a light meter, and at five thousands of an inch thick, the blood (after mixing with the right combinations of Heparin as an anticoagulant and Sodium Chloride 9% to stabilize) has the same light restriction as a #25 red filter. When I had the combination right, I had a doctor take some of my friends blood, mixed it, then inserted it into the camera. Every part I fabricated from solid blocks Aircraft grade aluminum, titanium and copper. The only parts I didn’t make were the 10,000 psi military aircraft hydraulic lines and fittings in the front of the camera. Military grade titanium nuts, bolts and screws that hold everything together.

The photo series the camera is designed for, is a study of people living with HIV and AIDS. All photographs are shot through and altered by HIV positive blood. The red coloring in the portraits is from the blood inside the camera.
So far Untouchable has photographed about 80 HIV+ men, woman, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers and children from San Francisco to Michigan.
I'm planing to take the camera to the DRC to continue the work.
The "Untouchable" camera/photo installation is currently on exhibit at ArtisanWorks in Rochester NY.
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