'JESUS DAYS, 1978-1983', 1983
Kodachrome/Ektachrome, Dimensions Variable
Jesus Days, 1978 – 1983
Jesus Days is a collection of images retrieved from dusty slide carousels more than a quarter of a century later.
During the mid to late 70s and early 80s, I was a young Evangelist and Campus Minister with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical organization with chapters at over 500 universities and colleges across the United States. Based initially in Indiana and later Kentucky, it was my mission to establish witnessing bodies of Believers on secular campuses and to strengthen existing groups of young Christians. I counseled and prayed with students, taught Bible, lead weekend Conferences and Summer Camps, enlisted and trained students for evangelistic outreaches on the beaches of Florida during Spring Break, and joined in a missionary outreach in Central America.
In 1978, a returning missionary from Zaire gave me her Pentax K1000, 35mm camera. Untutored in photography with no knowledge of technique or history, inspired by a passion for paintings and movies, I began to turn my lens on my own world. Photography became my joy entirely separate from my “real” life. I had no ambition for it to be anything more than what it was. It was my intention to only make pictures that interested and engaged me, ones that I could show on a screen with a slide projector for my friends and family.
By 1981, compelled by a crisis of faith and a struggle with my own sexual identity, I began to search for a way out at the age of twenty-eight. I entered therapy with a Christian psychologist who said, during our first meeting, “the truth will set you free.”
Two years later, I resigned from the ministry, broke up with my girlfriend, came out as a Gay man, and moved to New York City. It was 1983, and soon I discovered that my former fear of God had been replaced by a new terror, a plague of death striking gay men, AIDS.