Sunday, August 24, 2008

A day at the Bronx Zoo

As a young boy, I've always loved animals. In fact, at different points in my life, I've had dogs, cats, frogs, fish, turtles, rabbits, hamsters, birds, insects (yes, I had insects as "pets"), and I always wanted a monkey, though I've never had a real one. I do however, have a stuffed one that my baby gave me to fill that monkey void! LOL! But I know we'll get a real one some day (right bo???!! ;-)

One of the fondest memories from my childhood summers is when my dad came home from the supermarket with a bag full of crabs. He empited them out and grabbed one of the snapping blue crabs and chased me around the house with it. Imagine, the fright of a young child being chased around by something with claws! Later, we did enjoy a delicious Haitian crab dinner, but we also kept the agitated crab I was chased by as a pet for a while. So you see, I loved animals and critters of all kinds. I named the crab "clapper". Don't ask me why.

Anyway, the Bronx Zoo has always been one of my favorite places to go as a child, not to mention that my dad was a Nature/Animal Show Junkie! Needless to say, the affinity has rubbed off, and my baby luvs 'em too! Recently, I felt an overwhelming need to connect with my childhood in someway. And I wanted to share the experience with my partner. And since we both love animals, the Bronz Zoo seemed like the coolest place to connect with the energy of the animals, and with each other, to relive chilhood memories, and create new one's.

It was the perfect Saturday afternoon, with sunny indigo skys and cottony white clouds, and way too many baby strollers! Still, it was nice to relive the wonderment and free-spiritedness of boyhood, to actually see light and beauty around me, and to recognize it as such, and for never taking my life nor my gifts for granted. It was a great day spent with the animals at the zoo, simple but profound, and it was nice to share it openly with my baby. He's not ready for his debut on brothaluvacafe, but he's all up in these pictures!

Enough gushing! Enjoy the pics! :-)

Monkeys at play.

Posing Seal.

Tiger amongst the foliage.


Flamingo kiss.


Black Leaopard


Poem, Tree and self.

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:

Print Sales Going Well!

Thanks to all who have supported my work by way of purchasing prints and making donations towards my (first) forthcoming coffee table photo book due out this fall! I REALLY appreciate it! As a reminder, the print sale is still going on while I'm still editing for the book. To order fine quality prints of my photography, visit my websites to make your selection(s) at for photojournalism and documentary photography and for Fine Art male nude photographs. I'll let you know how my progress goes along the way, and thanks again for your SUPPORT!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What happened to PRIDE?

A few months ago as I planned my summer calendar of trips to take and events to photograph, I made the decision not to photograph Pride In the City, NYC's "official" Black Gay Pride Festival. I thought long and hard about my annual mission of documenting the People Of Color in Crisis, Inc. (POCC)- sponsored events (even though they never "hired" me to do so), including the Opening Ceremony, the Family Day Picnic in the Park, and the climactic Riis beach event. The feeling just sort of fell flat on me when I began to ponder the concept of community Pride.

I wondered if I was being too idealistic in my attempts to depict the community in a positive light, when by most accounts the "community" itself hasn't steadfastly rallied it's members and demanded better for themselves. PRIDE for all intents and purposes takes place once a year in NYC, when black SGL men (and women) from across the United States converge on the city for a weekend of parties, hedonism, and well...not much else really. I made it my own duty to make it much more, to show expressions of love, fellowship,diversity and a change of the status quo. While I'm proud of the work I've done these last three or four years documenting the black gay community at these events, I am somewhat dismayed by the lack of follow-through, or aftermath, if you will of the PRIDE that could take us to higher ground.

A few weeks ago, I received an email containing jaw-dropping allegations of investigations, mismanagement and misappropriation of government funds by POCC's "leadership" (among other things). The email also stated that Michael Roebson was no longer the Executive Director of the agency. Rather than get into the messy nuances, I'll leave it at that. Needless to say, only days before the events were to take place, I received another Press release saying that all POCC-sponsored PRIDE events would be canceled but the parties will still take place! And so they did, apparently with not a care in the world about the potential backlash the community will face in terms of receiving future dollars (or not) for HIV prevention and care.

As I write this blog entry on August 12 2008, two weeks after the disco ball has stopped spinning, after hook-ups have been made during PRIDE weekend, long after the announcement of Last Call, after everyone has flown back to their respective cities, there hasn't been much rallying of the community here to ensure that our HIV prevention CBO's stay open, or even to get to the bottom of the truth of what went down at POCC. Where has our PRIDE gone? This is sad news indeed for those of us concerned about the future of the black SGL community, and sadder even for those of us losing friends and loved ones to AIDS on a daily basis.

Still, I'm proud of the work that I've done and continue to do in the community, particularly with my photography. I won't leave this earth wishing I'd done something, or anything to project a positive light on the community and to shatter negative stereotypes about us. I will continue doing the work, in my own creative way, and while I still believe in US, the sad reality is that it seems like in this SGL world of ours, it's every man for himself.

Couple embrace in the ocean. From Pride in the City Riis beach event, 2007.

To view my images from 2007 Pride In The City, visit the blog page at