I know, I know, it’s “champions,” not “warriors.” And, indeed, I’m humming along, with Freddie Mercury’s voice in mind, as I’m typing this.
The truth is that sometimes, creatives feel compelled to put on their metaphorical warrior capes and make activist art, thus, in turn, becoming real-life warriors. Other creatives get to come close to real-life warriors, photograph and write about them and their work.
Many years ago, I had the chance to photograph a few real-life warriors for an HIV prevention project. Inspired by the PrEP Heroes campaign photographed (on the West Coast) by celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz, someone from an NYC HIV and AIDS nonprofit contacted me with their own idea of an HIV prevention campaign: the HIV Warriors prevention campaign.
The warriors were young and passionate individuals working in HIV prevention and education, themselves. As part of the project, they were to pick a color of the rainbow flag–we ended up with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple/indigo–and share their thoughts about what that color would mean to each one of them. The symbolism of that color would then define their particular superpower. And together, the HIV warriors were to use their superpowers to spread the word about HIV prevention.
The budget was pretty small, but I had a blast photographing, and getting to know my passionate subjects who were working in HIV education and prevention, and real-life warriors, themselves.
Years later, I got to reconnect with the funny and wonderful Orange Warrior, to photograph and interview him for a magazine. And a few years after that, I had the chance to interview celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz himself (who is an awesome and inspiring photographer and human being) for two publications.
Oftentimes, as photographers, and creatives, we might not get to be warriors, ourselves. Yet, sometimes, we have the chance to meet real-life warriors “of the world” and tell their stories. And that is ok, too.
As always, thanks for stopping by,