Last year I finished a project of having all of my old 35mm negatives scanned, some 200 rolls from high school and university. From time to time, I have reason to go in and browse the files, sometimes finding things that I think would be interesting to share. So it was with these two black and white photos of a hand in water. The photos were shot in 1993 in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. and the hand belongs to my boyfriend at the time, Bruce.
We were in the District of Columbia for the March of Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, a protest rally in April 1993 that saw crowds of several hundred thousand gather on the Mall. I was in university at the time and traveled there with Bruce, my former professor and faculty advisor, Karen, who was by that time studying her doctorate at Ohio University, and two other people. We drove from Athens, Ohio to DC, spent two nights there, and then drove back.
In those days I was definitely in the fifth stage of the Cass identity model. Everything was gay this and gay that and I was in a place where I needed to be loud and proud, to the exclusion of most everything else that made up my larger identity. That’s okay, that’s part of the process of coming to terms with one’s identity as a GLBT individual. And I’ve been safely in the sixth stage – Synthesis – for a dozen or more years now.
While we were in DC for this march, I had the opportunity to shoot a lot of black and white, a format that DC seems well suited for, what with its monuments and stark, governmental buildings. The lack of color makes it easier to focus on the textures. That is perhaps the perfect metaphor for this political city, where everything really is a shade of grey!
These two pictures have long been favorites of mine. I had them framed a few years later, despite going through a bad breakup with Bruce, and they’ve been on my walls almost continuously ever since. In fact, Tawn likes them so much (despite to whom the hand belongs!) that they are propped up on either side of our TV in the Annex.