Backbone

Backbone – On the ten-year anniversary of my solo photography show and related photography book, and on photographing the 2008 NYC Pride March in the rain

Backbone solo show (08/08/08 at 32 Jones Gallery, Jersey City, NJ)

Did you know…that my first solo photography show, Backbone, opened ten years ago today, on August 8, 2008, at 32 Jones Gallery in Jersey City? Yes it did. How time flies….

I remember that night was also the opening night of the summer Olympic games, in China, but loved ones, friends and supporters did come to my show’s opening. The editor of Out IN Jersey Magazine stopped by the opening, too, and then wrote about the show in the magazine. That was amazing!

I started photographing for the show while photographing rainbows, or “chasing rainbows,” and ended up photographing for months, even getting caught in a torrential rain, while walking in and photographing that year’s New York City Pride March. But it was all worth it!

One note about getting caught in a torrential rain with camera/gear. I got drenched, and so did my gear. I was in the middle of the street, heading towards Christopher Street, when the sky just cracked open and giant drops of rain started to fall everywhere. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide or seek shelter from all that rain. I looked around and noticed the marchers still marching, rain and all. Hats off to them! I looked around, trying to figure out how to leave the March and seek shelter, mostly for my gear. I finally found my way into a Subway store, packed my gear and headed back out in the street (and in the rain), and then back home. Once I got home, I unpacked every piece of gear from my bag, took it apart, batteries, lenses and all, and placed each piece on the floor, on a towel. I checked on the gear every so many hours. After two days, I reassembled it, put all the pieces back together, and gave it a try, while holding my breath. It was still working! Later on, I shared my experience with a seasoned photographer who looked at me and said, “Don’t do this again!” or something like that.

But, rain or no rain, I did end up capturing a few Pride faces that rainy NYC Pride Day. I dedicated the show to the sung and mostly unsung heroes of the LGBTQ community, as well as of the HIV community. In a related artist statement, I wrote, “In April 1986 I attended my first AIDS conference. […] The event marked what I call today my ‘chasing rainbows’ experience. […] Years later, […] while continuing to chase rainbows, goals, I discovered a community that adopted me and that changed my life in the most significant of ways.”

Backbone. Photography book by Alina Oswald.

To this day, I believe, I’m still chasing rainbows or at least I try to.

For more about Backbone, feel free to check out the photo book with the same name.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

  1. Fun read particularly about caught in rain with equipment. I too was once caught but in lighter rain i thought could harm but oh it did! One rain drop found it’s way inside causing expensive repair.

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    1. Oh, no! Sorry to hear about your gear. It can happen and it does happen. Guess we all have these kinds of experiences…and learn something every single day. Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it!

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      Reply

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