Photography Hub

The AIDS Activist Project Photography Book Needs Your Support To Become A Reality


Bill Bytsura (below right), a photographer and AIDS activist who became passionate about the cause after losing his partner, Randy Northup, is in the process of creating and producing a coffee table style book of photography and needs your support. Bytsura founded the AIDS activist project in 1989 after attending meeings of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), and now his work has come full circle.

BillBytsuraBytsura's kickstarter page reads:

While Bytsura documented the many theatrical and angry street demonstrations created by ACT UP, he also felt the world needed to see the private, more contemplative, sides of his brave comrades. Then, perhaps they would not be demonized and their important work ignored. 

One day, while sitting through another highly emotional meeting, Bytsura had an idea: He would create a series of portraits of activists — not in the streets, where they were protesting in anger, but in more intimate settings where their humanity shone through.the AIDS activist project was born. 

The project began with sessions in Bytsura’s East Village photo studio. It grew quickly, sending the photographer to cities around America where other ACT UP chapters thrived. Eventually, Bill went abroad, intent on capturing the full diversity of the movement by photographing ACT UP members in other countries. The cities and countries included: New York City, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, San Juan, Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris. 

Bytsura and a professional team have selected 65 images for the book, which will be printed in a limited edition issue of 1500 copies. Though his work was borne out of anger, frustration, and grief, the photographs reveal a group of people full of life and energy. 

Consider donating and helping to make this important book a reality. Head over to Bytsura's kickstarter page and check out the informational video along with some of the imagery to be displayed in the book.

Colin Kaepernick Bares His Abs For Bruce Weber In 'VMAN' - PHOTOS


The San Francisco 49ers quarterback who recently signed a $126 million contract covers the current issue of VMAN looking unsurprisingly sporty. 

Earlier this year, Kaepernick spoke out about the prospect of Michael Sam joining the NFL, remarking that he would be welcomed into the league:

"I think when he steps into that locker room, everyone's going to know that he's there to help us win games. And that's why you're in the NFL, to help us win games. No one cares if you're black, white, straight, gay, Christian, Jewish, whatever it may be. When you step on that field you're a member of in my case, the 49ers. Or the Carolina Panthers. That's your job. That's your occupation."

Check out Kaepernick's chiseled abs, photographed by ab aficionado Bruce Weber, along with one more shot from VMAN, AFTER THE JUMP...

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47 Portraits of People in Provincetown and a Chat with Photographer Emil Cohen: PHOTOS


Towleroad spent several months this summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 'P-town', in addition to being the nation's historic LGBT resort destination, has also served as an enclave for writers and artists since the late 1800s and continues to attract creative types from all over the world who are drawn by the area's dramatic physical beauty, its numerous arts venues, and its colorful collection of tourists and townies.

EDC_PortraitsOfProvincetown_Towleroad_002One project we've had our eye on all summer is a photographic documentary series by Emil Cohen, who stationed himself each evening outside the Boatslip (where a daily and long-running 'Tea Dance' is held) and found hundreds of willing subjects to stand in front of his lens.

Emil (pictured, right, in self-portrait) sat down with me this week to share 47 of the portraits with Towleroad and discuss the process and inspiration behind his impressive project.

Who are you and how would you describe yourself as an artist?

My name is Emil Cohen and I'm a professional photographer. I received my MFA this past spring from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. As an artist, I find myself drawn to portraiture’s ability to capture the human experience.

What inspired you to start photographing people in Provincetown?

This past summer, my fiancé and I had a seasonal rental lined up for the summer, so I knew that the next project that I took upon myself would be shot in Provincetown and more specifically, be about Provincetown. The inspiration behind this particular project was mainly Richard Avedon's In The American West series. I proudly own an original copy of the book (a gem I discovered at Tim's Used Books on Commercial St.) and became inspired to create my own portrait series. I like to believe that people captured in Avedon’s work represent real, live individuals, not staged personas. That skill, to embody each person’s essence, is something that I strive to achieve in my own work every day. 

Is portraiture your specialty?

Portraiture is indeed my specialty. I have always found myself drawn to photographing people, though sometimes photographing their environments provides further light on the subjects. Studying the work of Alec Soth, Claire Beckett, Matt Williams and Brian Schutmaat, has enhanced my understanding that a portrait can be more than just a photograph of a person. 

EDC_PortraitsOfProvincetown_Towleroad_035Where did you find your subjects for this project and who are they?

My subjects are all volunteers. I set up my camera on the corner of Atlantic St and Commercial St and ask people if they'd like to participate in a photo series. 

How many people did you photograph? Was it over the course of an entire summer, a few days?

I began shooting this project right after July 4th and have been photographing nearly every day so far. Without realizing it, doing this every day, I’ve captured over 200 people. What’s so unique is that each photograph represents a different person’s background, perspective, experience, life. What I’ve realized about this series is that it’s not only a portrait series, but also a chronology of a P-Town summer: From Bear week to Family week to Carnival and more.

How did you choose the setting?

The critical aspect of the setting was the continuous backdrop, akin to Avedon’s work In The American West. Having people stand in front of the same backdrop forces the viewer to concentrate solely on the person. To me, the storm shingles beautifully represent Provincetown and Cape Cod. Having each person stand in front of the same shingles helped identify the location of this project but also helps create a catalog of people, which as a whole, becomes a portrait of Provincetown itself. 

Which are your three favorite portraits and why?

As each person approached the storm shingles in front of my camera, I provided the same simple instruction: "Be yourself." The three portraits I'm particularly drawn to are ones who fully understood my guidance. Specifically, Super Judge Judy, the two men in black singlets, and the young black man in the black tank top named Richard (all this page, click to enlarge). Super Judge Judy and Richard look directly into the viewers’ eyes and exude a level of self-confidence that strengthens the photo overall. With the Two Wrestlers, I particularly love how the gentleman on the right got lost in the moment and forgot that I was watching them. For these individuals, a mix of the P-Town atmosphere, and perhaps a few Tea Dance cocktails, helped lower their guards and elevate their presence in the photos.

EDC_PortraitsInProvincetown_RichardStGermain_001What is it about Provincetown that makes it especially suitable for this type of project?

I love Provincetown’s ability to draw out the child from within. Each person, regardless of background, can be who they want, dress how they want, and act how they want. This level of curiosity, openness, and fun was more than a gift for me in this series. By beginning to capture the essence of this small town and its visitors, I’m excited to see this work develop into a portrait of the town itself.

Is there a Provincetown photographic tradition that you admire? Any other photographers?

While I don’t have a specific Provincetown photographic tradition in mind, the costumes and theme weeks certainly are a photographer’s dream. There are many photographers whose work I admire and turn to for influence. Irving Penn and Avedon are particularly strong inspirations. As are, Bruce Davidson, Gregory Crewdson, Renika Dykstra, Jess Dugan, and Collier Shore. 

Did you give your subjects special instructions before photographing them?

Stand in front of the shingles and be yourself.

Do you plan to make this a tradition?

To me tradition isn’t something planned, but something that grows organically. Looking back on the project, Portraits in Provincetown is a chronology of portraits, encapsulating the summer of 2014 through a series of photos. Moving forward with the project, returning to the series would expand the idea that this project is an archive which continues to grow every summer. I would love to do such an ambitious project and in five, ten years, have this enormous volume of portraits taken throughout the years to archive Provincetown’s history, continuity, and change. We'll see. I do know one thing’s for sure: I’ll be coming back next summer with my fiancé! (wedding in P-Town anyone?)

Enjoy 44 photos from Cohen's 'Portraits in Provincetown', AFTER THE JUMP...

(you may recognize a few faces, especially near the end)

Visit Cohen's website here and his blog, A Minute for Minute here.


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Satellite Launching This Wednesday Will Provide First Public High-Res Images Of Earth: VIDEO


Look to the skies on August 13th and you may spot the launch of a new, high-tech satellite that will blow your mind - or send your Big Brother paranoia into overdrive. The Worldview-3 from DigitalGlobe will become the first satellite to provide public high-resolution photos of our planet, right down to the numbers on your mailbox and the grass on your lawn. Google and Microsoft, DigitalGlobe customers, will be your best bets for the high-res imagery, so look for Google Maps to upgrade in the near future.

Gizmodo reports:

Walter Scott, founder and CTO of DigitalGlobe, explains some of the satellite's other applications that are more than just skin deep:

'The Worldview-3 is going to offer the highest commercially available resolution of any satellite system out there. Combining that with the power of our constellation, which gives multiple visits per day over multiple hours of the day, means the ability to monitor what's going on and enabling our defense and intelligence customers to make decisions on the basis of fact than the basis of fear."

The Worldview-3 will operate around 383 miles above Earth, making its precise detail all the more impressive. At such high resolution, the company also says the satellite will help see through smoke and identify moisture content and other materials. DigitalGlobe will begin publicly selling images after six months of operation.

Worldview-3 will take off on August 13th at 2:30pm; you can watch it all live here.

And check out DigitalGlobe's video about the Worldview project (and some stunning images of our planet), AFTER THE JUMP...


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Teen Becomes Instagram Sensation Cross-Dressing As Celebrities - PHOTOS


Seventeen-year-old Liam Martin (aka waverider_) has amassed over 1,559,656 Instagram followers over the last eight months and has appeared on the Today show and ABC News websites by posting low-fi recreations of celebrity photographs.

He has mimicked Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and even Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. Some of the celebrities have followed and complimented his work, and he uses his platform to discourage cyberbullying and encourage people to be more creative.

Yahoo shares more about the young mimic:

Make no mistake, a lot of time, energy — and money! — goes into each one of Martin's photos. He posts a new picture pretty much weekly and it takes that much time to execute his vision as far as coming up with a subject and buying the supplies. The teen estimates that he spends about $45 on props for each shoot, which take place at his family home "against one wall we use all the time."

The hardest one to recreate so far? "The Katy Perry photo from her 'Dark Horse' music video. It took me three hours" to get just right. The headpiece was made out of "M&Ms and string," he reveals. The shirt? It featured hand-cut pieces of paper attached to the nude-colored top. Fortunately, all his hard work paid off — the photo has 439,000 likes

"My mom and my nana were helping me with that one and it took hours," Martin recalls, adding that he often leans on them for assistance. "Most of the time my mom helps me get dressed up and she'll take the photo for me. If my [extended] family is over, my nana and my pops — my grandpa — will help me. The whole family loves it too. It's now become normal for them."

Check out more of his photos AFTER THE JUMP...


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Colton Haynes Shares Pics Of His Gay Brother and Family: PHOTO


Fresh off his Australian adventure and appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con, Arrow heartthrob Colton Haynes recently Instagrammed a pic of his openly gay brother Joshua, Joshua’s husband Scott and their daughter Wren.

Haynes wrote, “Much needed fam time with my bro @joshuahaynes, his hubby @scottculley , and my lil niece Wren who needs a nap.”


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