Photographing Pride Month – Authors

Giant Rainbow Flag. ©Alina Oswald

Authors and Their Books

Over the years, while covering the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve had the chance to meet authors, artists, actors and activists whose stories have changed my life for the better. After all, stories do have that kind of power.

Stories and storytelling first bring to mind writers and authors. What I find fascinating is that when it comes to authors, in particular, there’s a multi-layered story we’d want to capture–there’s the individual, personal story, and then there are the stories that authors shares in their books. Blend them all together to capture a more complex author portrait.

Books on Shelves at Symposia Bookstore. ©Alina Oswald
Books. Symposia Bookstore. ©Alina Oswald

I’ve had the chance to talk to some of my favorite authors and even cover their stories–Paul Thorn, Joseph Pittman, Gregory G. Allen, Avram Finkelstein, and Hans M. Hirschi .

I became aware of Hans M. Hirschi‘s work upon reading/reviewing The Fallen Angels of Karnataka for A&U Magazine–America’s AIDS Magazine and then met the author in person in December of 2014, at The Center, in NYC, while attending a book event. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Swedish author Hans Hirschi at the LGBT Center in NYC
Author_HansMHirschi_TheCenter_NYC. ©AlinaOswald.

Hirschi’s are what I call “my go-to books,” those I read to escape the harshness of everyday life. They tell stories about love and friendship, about history, and far-away places and people. Many of Hirschi’s books take on the reality of life, unveiling all its struggles and sometimes difficult journeys. They offer lessons learned (and life lessons to be learned), and “a-ha” moments that oftentimes open our eyes and minds, and make us ponder on the meaning of life.

Some of my all-time favorites include Jonathan’s Hope (the first book in a must-read trilogy!), Last Winter’s Snow, Disease (a powerful read that hit close to home for me, personally), Spanish Bay, Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow, and Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm, to mention only a few. His books have also introduced me to something that I’d never thought I’d ever read–YA fantasy novels, such is the fantastic The Golden One Trilogy, a must-read for young (adults) as well as adults.

Each time I open one of Hirschi‘s books, I know I’m in for an unforgettable story. That’s in particular true when it comes to his latest novel, Matt: More Than Words, which tells the story of a young man living with severe disabilities, trapped inside his body, unable to move or communicate. [] Matt has Hirschi’s signature elements–exquisite writing, engaging and heartfelt story, in-depth research, remarkable storytelling–that bring the characters and story to life and make them memorable and unforgettable.

Author Hans M. Hirschi photographed by Alina Oswald.
Author Hans M. Hirschi photographed by Alina Oswald.

We can learn about authors through their books and get a sense of a sketchy portrait of the person behind the books. It’s often takes meeting authors face to face to bring that portrait into focus. Hence, a more detailed portrait of the author emerges, one that we get to capture, in turn, through our lens.

Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

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