Parade Unrest: The Confederate Monument Controversy No More Bullshit Flowers of Nicaragua The Lesbian Portraits Dogs Among Us Nicaragua A Fleeting Intimacy: Tintype Portraits No Difference Between Them Europe Budapest Istanbul Kuna of Panama Omeggid of Panama Twenty Years Apart New York Diptychs I New York Diptychs II New York, New York Portraits Age Transgender Israelis

My late sister, Hillary, came out of the closet in 1976 when she was twenty-three, not exactly a cultural period conducive to acceptance of homosexuality, especially for lesbians.

 

A few days after Hillary announced that she was a lesbian I encouraged her to tell me how it was going: “What’s life like for you right now?” I asked. “You have no idea,” she answered sadly. “Like holy hell.” And then she showed me a note our mother had written to her: “Hillary ñ I didn’t realize how much you hate me. Signed, Mother.”

 

Since her untimely death at the age of 52, I’ve sought a way to create a tribute to her memory and her personal struggle. In this series of photographs, I have made formal street portraits of lesbian community members using a large, 8x10 view camera and asking them the very same question: “What’s life like for you right now?” Their handwritten responses which are paired with their portraits, are generally upbeat and filled with optimism, although some express the need to cope with difficulties. Nevertheless, as one young woman wrote, “To be genuinely authentic and carry no shame is a beautiful thing.”

My sister would have appreciated knowing that.

 

The BOOK
Judy
Sherri
Jennifer
Shanell
Leslie
Maddy
Liz
Sheba
Debra
Erin
Chris
Jayme
Lindsay
Tin
April
Louise
Grace
JA
Athene
Lauren
So
Jax
Ednita
Julia
Tiffany
Fafa
Carmen
Danielle
Chelsea
Hillary
914-557-7055
All images © Robert Kalman. All rights reserved.