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AIDS Archive, St. Louis

Safe-sex outreach worker, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Date 1987
Location Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
Dimensions Image: 31 5/8 x 31 5/8 in. (80.3 x 80.3 cm)
Paper: 35 3/4 x 35 3/4 in. (90.8 x 90.8 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection
Section: Self-presentation
Brian Weil didn’t conceal that he used his photography as an excuse to immerse himself in other people’s lives. In the 1980s he became a member of the group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power); he began to see his artistic practice as intrinsically linked to his activism and expanded his work to a global platform. For more than four years he visited a wide range of countries and produced a powerful body of work including portraits
of traditional healers in South Africa and Haiti, and sex workers—some in Thailand, and others in the Dominican Republic, where they were recruited by the government to promote safe sex practices. The graininess of Weil’s work resulted from rephotographing
the negatives of Super 8 filmstrips and sometimes also scratching the surface to create a hazy impression. To Weil, the blurriness introduced a sense of detachment, allowing him to share revealing scenes or stories while maintaining the dignity of the subject.

Credit line

Gift of the AIDS Archive, St. Louis, 1996

Feedback Accession No. 191.1996