to the June 2001 edition of The Digital Journalist.
On June 5th, 1981,
article appeared in the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality
Weekly Review, describing the discovery of a new disease. It seemed
to be a kind of pneumonia, which for some reason only afflicted gay men,
and was fatal. It would be another month before readers saw a small article
buried in a back section of The New York Times confirming the existence
of the disease. It was called AIDS.
In the first few years, the epidemic spread largely among creative people
in the urban areas of New York and San Francisco. Artists, designers,
actors, and photographers were among the first to fall ill. Because of
their awareness, photographers began documenting it - taking pictures
of their friends, and sometimes themselves.
This month, we publish a special edition of The Digital Journalist, focusing
on pivotal moments in the 20-year history of photography and AIDS. The
project involves many of the biggest names in the photo community, including
Herb Ritts, Nan Goldin, Harry Benson, Duane Michals, James Nachtwey, and
Ingrid Sischy. The photographs presented are works by John Dugdale, Felix
Gonzalez-Torres, Robert Mapplethorpe, David Wojnarowicz, Italian photojournalist
Paolo Pellegrin, and the famous Benetton ad of AIDS activist David Kirby
on his deathbed. These are all people who found themselves suddenly on
the front lines of a terrible new kind of war.
We are featuring streaming video interviews with Ingrid Sischy, the editor
of Interview magazine, who was with Robert Mapplethorpe the weekend
in 1981 when AIDS first became public knowledge; Alon Reininger, of Contact
Press Images, who was the first photojournalist to do a major story on
AIDS in 1981; and John Dugdale, a fine art studio photographer who became
blind as the result of an AIDS-related stroke in 1992, but continues to
produce shows and books of his work. We think you will be especially inspired
by his story. This is not the story of a victim, but one of a hero.
This special package was produced by our contributing editor, David Friend,
who, as Editor of Creative Development of Vanity Fair magazine,
spent countless hours calling on the people in his amazing address book.
We also have moving articles from our regular columnists. Bill Pierce,
tells the story of Alon Reininger; and Amy Bowers remembers a friend and
fellow producer who became one of the 15,000,000 people who were claimed
by the epidemic, in her column "The Laughing Place."
Because of the nature and breadth of this project, some of our normal
features will not appear this month. They will return in July.
As a final word, this is an issue about how a terrible epidemic spreads.
Its rampage continues, now marching on to China and India. It is about
how the world of photography has covered it so far. We hope this issue
does justice to the dedication and talent of the people who have told
THIS MONTH IN "THE
Have you ever had
anyone at a social event, come up to you and say something like "Wow!
You're a news photographer. What an interesting and fabulous job you have.
You must really have an exciting life every day." OK, what do YOU
say to them? In this issue of Assignment Sheet, Dick Kraus explains what
he tells people these days and why.
Susan Markisz offers up an all-star double header with two compelling
journals. The first, "The Violin Maker's Son" is a beautifully
crafted piece about how she worked a story about a violin maker. It just
didn't seem to come together in her viewfinder-then in an instant, all
of that changed.
Finally, in keeping with the theme of this month's Digital Journalist,
Susan shares her private feelings as she talks about her own experience
with breast cancer and how she can relate it to AIDS and the AIDS story
than 36 million people live with HIV/AIDS, 25 million in sub-Saharan Africa
The Digital Journalist invites you to explore these links to other AIDS-related
Your interest, your involvement and your contributions are encouraged
AIDS Memorial Quilt: www.aidsquilt.com
Design Industries Fighting AIDS: www.diffa.org
Friends in Deed: www.friendsindeed.org
God's Love We Deliver: www.godslovewedeliver.org
Artists With AIDS: www.artistswithaids.org
Elton John Aids Foundation: www.ejaf.org
Youth HIV: www.youthhiv.org
AIDS Walk: www.aidswalk.net
Gay Men's Health Crisis: www.gmhc.org
Visual AIDS: www.visualaids.org
American Foundation for AIDS Research: www.amfar.org
World AIDS Day: www.worldaidsday.org
Lambda Legal Defense Fund: www.lambdalegal.org
United Nations AIDS Program: www.unaids.org
Treatment Action Campaign: www.tac.org.za
Action Aid: www.actionaid.org