When a performance artist friend died of AIDS at age 28, among the possessions he left behind were a pair of 1970s wrap-around blue sunglasses. He also left behind his energy, as does anyone who dies before their time. As I watched several friends’ lives pass at young ages, I began to feel the responsibility to acknowledge that energy – creative, active, exciting, ebullient – which was being left in their wake. I wanted to somehow embrace their memory and also keep their spirits alive through creative acts. These blue sunglasses were an obvious catalyst, so I began photographing them worn by my friends, and then also some of their friends. The glasses have since traveled from New York to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Paris and Rome, with the images having been exhibited several times in New York & NJ, as well as in L.A. I am now in the process of expanding the project – with potential to benefit AIDS related charities.
The first step is a recreation of the glasses, since the vintage frames and lenses are now worn beyond usability. A single prototype is all that is needed for the photo project to continue. Photographs of new participants are planned, with hopes of adding some famous faces. Ideally, their inclusion would emphasize the concept that no matter how exotic or glamorous we may be on camera, no life is predictable and death is the greatest of all levelers. I’d like to then turn this collection into a photo book, with each of the subjects answering specific questions about their life’s fullness, including to what age they expect to live. Many of the questions & answers are already included here with their connected images. The book would serve as a way to raise money for charities supporting artists who are living with AIDS, since the creative process carries on, regardless of the abilities or limitations of the body. Beyond that, I hope to reproduce and market these sunglasses on a grander scale, thus being able to sell them as an additional AIDS charity fundraiser. Eventually, hopefully, designers too will become involved, creating blue-lensed frames in solidarity, with a percentage of sales also being donated. What you see on this site is the very beginning. I hope you will stay connected with me across the journey. Thanks for reading, and for spreading the word. If you are on Twitter or Pinterest, please follow the blue sunglasses project. And please check out the blue sunglasses blog – an on-line cultural magazine monitoring the intersection between HIV/AIDS with the arts and popular culture.
Thank you so very much for your support.
Project related emails should be sent to:
bluesunglassesproject (AT) gmail (DOT) com
** Please kindly note that no images from this website may be used anywhere without permission from me. If any images are found to be used without our knowledge, we will have no option but to prosecute. **