I began Positive (adj.) in 2015 in the interest of showing an accurate, contemporary look at HIV/AIDS. I have since met more than 20 people who have allowed me into their homes, shared their stories with me, and volunteered to sit for my camera. I wanted to give a new face—while simultaneously proving that there is no single face—to the virus. The people who volunteered to sit for me encompass all genders, races, and sexual orientations. Their age at the time of the project ranges from 25 to 75, and the time they’ve spent living with the virus ranges from five to 31 years.
Despite their HIV status, most of my project participants are in great health; because of their HIV status, most are wrongly discriminated against or stereotyped. It is my greatest hope that, through this series, I can dispel any previous misconceptions viewers might have regarding HIV/AIDS. What’s more, I also hope to make a point about the current state of healthcare and treatment for the virus. While, 20 years ago, an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence, those with a positive status are now able to lead a “normal” life. So many people are misinformed about what it is like to live with HIV. Through titling my project “Positive (adj.)” I would like to make the point that HIV is no longer a noun, but an adjective. HIV is just one of many things that describes these people, but it does not define them… It is something they have, but not who they are.
Exhibited at Drexel University in June 2016.
Published by Vogue Italia in March 2019.