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'Portrait of the AIDS Generation' Spotlights Survivors & Community 

'Portrait of the AIDS Generation' Spotlights Survivors & Community

aids-gen
Courtesy of Saul Bromberger & Sandra Hoover

Photographers Saul Bromberger & Sandra Hoover pay homage to those diagnosed as HIV-positive. 

"These are brave people who keep persevering despite numerous obstacles, especially challenging health issues, through the years," write photographers Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover of their new documentary series, "Portrait of the AIDS Generation," which honors men and women living with HIV, their families, and their communities.

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Patti Radigan and her daughter Angelica in Golden Gate Park

Bromberger and Hoover began the project in September 2015 and have photographed subjects as diverse as the San Francisco Bay Area itself, including gay men of various ethnicities, straight women and their children, an African-American transgender woman, artists, activists, writers, and musicians, among others. Although the portraits are "local" in one sense, they are universal in their depiction of the day-to-day resilience and strength required to stay the course.

Recognizing that not all survivors of the plague are HIV-positive--our brothers and sisters who lived through the epidemic are indeed our fellow survivors no matter their sero status--the couple have now started to seek out and photograph HIV-negative subjects.

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Jason Bennett (left), George Kelly (center), and others marching with the Shanti Project/Honoring Our Experience in the San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade 2016

By adding their portraits and stories to the project, these friends, children, siblings, co-workers, and caregivers of the HIV-positive are expanding and enriching the history it presents.

Although "Portrait of the AIDS Generation" is a work in progress, some of its images have already adorned gallery walls. Several of the photographs were showcased as part of the Harvey Milk Photo Center's 2017 LGBTQ Pride Exhibit.

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Kevin Vandenbergh and Diane Sciarretta

Currently, Bromberger and Hoover are requesting grants to finance the completion of the project and hope to officially unveil it within a year.

They're also looking for more long-term HIV/AIDS survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento area. Whether HIV-positive or -negative, those interested in sharing their stories have been encouraged to contact the couple via their website, where more of their powerful work can be found.

Hank Trout is a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor and an editor at large for A&U: America's AIDS Magazine.

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