In San Francisco during the 1980s and 1990s the photographer Gypsy Ray documented the lives and relationships of people living with HIV/AIDS. These collaborative portraits and the accompanying testimonies of their sitters are not only an extraordinary social record of those times and that epidemic but also of the human capacity to face the daunting challenges of life, of illness and of mortality, of love and of loss; to discover unknown inner strength and the solace of lovers, carers, friends and family. The participants in this series of photographs, on both sides of the camera's lens, show us how, at our shared best, we realise what it is to be human.
Butler Gallery would like to acknowledge the assistance and support of Gypsy Ray's husband, Alan Counihan who not only kindly gave access to this photographic archive but was extremely generous in explaining how the project was initiated and developed by Gypsy at the time.
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Alan Kirwan, Learning and Public Engagement Interim Curator, Butler Gallery in conversation with Professor Carter Wilson, University of California, Santa Cruz.