Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Son is My LIFE! New Campaign Targeting Fathers of Black Gay Men


Earlier this year I was hired by GMHC to photograph a campaign targeting father's of black gay men. It was a great shoot for a revolutionary concept that amounted to a powerful campaign! Materials developed will include posters, palm cards, and billboards at bus shelters and telephone kiosks. Look out for one in your 'hood! :-)

Thanks to Francisco Roque, Mark Kornegay and Giovanni Koll from GMHC's Institute for Black Gay Men for your vision, and more importantly, thanks for hiring me to shoot this important campaign.

Below are some outtakes from the shoot as well as the press release. Spread the word!

New York City — Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) will launch a new campaign My Son is My Life that emphasizes the importance of family support, and in particular, the significance of fathers in the lives of their gay sons. While the campaign speaks directly to fathers of black gay men, it also challenges gay men to think critically about the effect fathers may have on their sense of self and their intimate relationships with other men.

"Families are critically important to young men of color and this campaign builds on the strength and resiliency of those bonds," stated Dr. Marjorie Hill, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "We recognize the complexities in the lives of young men of color who have sex with men. Thus, HIV prevention efforts should speak to the realities faced by these young men on a daily basis. We cannot simply deliver a message of "use condoms" or "be tested for HIV. It is imperative to address the myriad of underlying factors which contribute to the transmission of HIV, including homophobia, racism, poverty, isolation, stigma, poor body image, and inadequate access to health care."

The campaign will be in telephone kiosks throughout New York City. Posters and palm cards will also be distributed to community-based organizations, local businesses, bars and clubs. The cards provide supportive information for parents including the contact information for the organization, PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

"All young people need the strong support of family to grow up healthy and safe," said Drew Tagliabue, Executive Director of PFLAG New York City. "This is especially vital for young gay men who are at higher risk of contracting HIV. Many parents don't know how to react when a child tells them he is gay. This campaign gets across the message that it is most important for a parent to let their child know they love him no matter what. You can deal with your own feelings later, but it is essential to stay close to your child."

On August 2, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced a revised estimate of HIV infections in the United States — 53% were among gay and bisexual men. In 2007, New York City health officials indicated a 33% increase of HIV infections among young gay men in the past six years —77% of these new infections were of black and Latino men.

The campaign was developed by GMHC's Institute of Gay Men's Health (IGMH) and photographed by NYC photographer Ocean Morisset, which focuses on HIV prevention among gay men and other men who have sex with men through education, community-building, social marketing and community-based research. IGMH also addresses prevention of other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and the endemic of crystal-methamphetamine use by gay and bisexual men.

The actual campaign poster.

Download a PDF copy of the poster here:


Anonymous said...

Well Ocean,you have done it again!!!!Knocked it clear out of the park!!! Not only is the subject matter timely,but it also speaks to the many emotions---sometimes conflicting that we have with ourselves,our fathers,and the other men in our lives. You are blessed with vision,ambition,yo after all the is Neal speaking, and the talent to make it all work, much success in your talented career. Much love, Neal

ReggieH said...

Bravo Ocean! Wonderful photos of a great campaign

KAMAU said...

I am almost in tears. It took long for someone to figure out that these are the images and messages of love and hope we needed to see.

Mr.Mike said...

I LOVE This Campaign And Especially The Images. They Are Realistic And Necessary In The African American Community. Thanks and Keep Up The Good Work!

Ocean said...

Thanks for all the props on these photos from the campaign! I'm really appreciate the feedback! Yeah, apart from having photographed this campaign, I'm really wowed by the concept! Kudos to GMHC for that!


johnlo said...

love the photos series. very nicely done.