Hunk du Jour alumni (and reader favorite) Jack Mackenroth dropped us a note with a photographer's project he thinks we should all know about.
Dallas photographer Jorge Rivas is fighting the stigma of AIDS through visibility and honesty via his new project, Faces Of Life.
Jack (HIV positive for 23 years) took part in the project last week adds:
"I think visual campaigns like Faces Of Life are amazing because they convey everything necessary without words. I am honored to be a part of something that highlights beauty, originality and individuality around a subject that is often viewed as so grim and ugly. I'm proud to stand along side others who have made a bold statement by posing with the red ribbon regardless of their HIV status. I was not surprised when Jorge mentioned to me that many people--both HIV positive and HIV negative--declined to be a part of the campaign because they worried that others would think they were HIV positive. It's a testament to the strength of the stigma and even more reason to get involved in projects that bring attention to HIV and AIDS. Go Jorge!!!"
While the entire project is available on their web site, Jorge exhibits some of the portraits at the ilume gallery in Dallas - with the hopes of taking the collection to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Mexico.
Says Jorge on the mission of the Faces of Life project:
"Faces of Life" is an artistic expression created to support organizations dedicated to supporting people who are HIV positive. This disease doesn't discriminate due to race, age, sex or socio-economic levels. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stumbling blocks behind preventing this disease is a lack of information and generalized misconceptions on who is at risk and what a person "with AIDS" or HIV is like. Based on realization, I started my photographic "Faces of Life" project in Dallas, TX, as a way to give a face to people with HIV. I hope this will help spread the word and increase support all of those who are affected by HIV and AIDS. With "Faces of Life" I have traveled throughout the US and the world trying to contribute, through my work, to the many different charity associations who support this important cause of helping people who are just like you and me, but who have been touched by a HIV. .Remember, wearing a red ribbon doesn't mean you are an HIV carrier or gay, it is simply a symbol of support for the living, and a sign of respect for the dead.
"The Faces of Life" Project helps benefit HIV/AIDS agencies nationally. The red ribbon (a recognized symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness) is Jorge's signature feature in each photograph.