My friend Josh Lehrer's photos "Becoming Visible" are breathtaking. Eleven cyanotype portraits of members of NY's homeless teenage transgendered community. They are the fastest growing homeless demographic and therefore becoming invisible. Josh is bringing them into the light and personally, I think it's fUcking fantastic!! Robert Miller Gallery 524 West 26th street NYC.
Standing there the other night, on West 26th Street with all the fabulous people. And I mean fabulous! Patrick McMullen taking our pics, I was able to stay in my body and really see what was going on and sometimes it's not so nice and sometimes it's so beautiful it hurts my eyes.
First let me start this off with telling you that Josh came all the way to Boston to see my show. That's the kind of guy he is. We had lunch before I left, some funky fish thing with ginger tea down in the Village. We sat and talked about life and what it meant to put ourselves out there. We talked about the excruciating task of looking at ourselves and asking how much work it takes to stop destructive behavior to be successful and feel the love.
Well his show the other night was him walking the walk. As I stood outside getting some fresh air I was amazed at what I saw. I was talking to these two people and a third approached. The third person said, "I love it! It kinda reminds me of high school yearbook pictures" and immediately the too other people said "Don't say that!" They squelched him immediately. I mean it's art, you can interpret it any way you like. I couldn't help but defend the guy. I said, "Wow, that's pretty cool if you ask me. Here are these young homeless kids that are outcast by mainstream society, and if Josh was able to conjure up a universal, familiar, safe way for someone to view them, that juxtaposition is pretty amazing. Here are kids that society has turned their eyes away from and Josh has presented them in a way that we can see them.”
They all agreed. I was able to give them a different perspective and let the guy express himself. I mean that's what Josh and I were talking about at lunch that day. That's why we do what we do.
Then, a guy told the girl beside me that she was really pretty, then turned and said to another woman, "Hey so and so, I found a girl way prettier that you."
It was awful and so uncomfortable. Here this guy was, trying to become visible by hurting another. He was visible alright — the lady beside me said, "What an asshole."
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are two ways to become visible. The first one is the courageous, brave, and life-giving way. The other is the cowardly, hate-filled, life-taking way, which really only takes away the life of the one doing the hating. Which is ironic because all the hater really wants is love. But we are not children anymore and any attention is not always good attention because you are only hurting yourself.