PRINT January 1990


THESE PHOTOGRAPHS RECORD a reality, or, rather, a variety of the realities of people with AIDS. For PWAS are as diverse as humanity. They include men, women, and children, whites and people of color, gays and straights, drug users and drug abstinents, and the citizens of many different lands. All have voices that need to be heard, but some of those voices are less audible than others, some of the faces less visible, at least in the mass media. So we consider it crucial to remember how wide is the spectrum of people affected—to understand that there is no culture identification to AIDS, that the syndrome does not “belong” to a class, a race, a gender or gender preference. And that there is horror and pain,but also hope and positive action in dealing with the tragedy, from the free-needles program in Liverpool, England, to the street educational programs for transvestite prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

Neither staged nor invasive, Brian Weil’s compassionate images depend on a link of trust, an intimacy that the photographer establishes with different people in different parts of the world. The photographs’ subject matter, and their darkness and hard contrasts, may give them a brutal look; but they are not intended to be pretty or palatable, and would be offensive if they were.

Ida Panicelli