Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Chance to Change Everything

About 10 years ago, while studying abroad in Glasgow, Scotland, I met a wee lil' dyke named Molly. We hit it off right away. She always had her camera over her shoulder and documented many of the crazy times and personalities that mixed together to make an unforgettable year.

We stayed in touch for a while but over time lost track of each other. I never forgot her spirit or her work. When I was in New York working on my MFA I began to wonder whatever happened to her. Using the magic of Google I learned that she was also in New York getting her MFA at SVA. Our paths had crossed again and I couldn't be more pleased. We managed to find each other right as she was beginning to flush out a new project photographing queer youth. I'd been photographed by Molly before and was happy to participate again. She showed up at my apartment while I was hanging new curtains. I was wearing pajama pants, a white t-shirt, bunny slippers and a tool belt. She dug in my closet, found the perfect outfit (which still included the bunny slippers), helped me bind my breasts, gel my Mohawk and for the first time in a long time I felt happy in my body.

One peek at my facebook pictures and it becomes pretty evident that I'm not always aware of my face when I'm being photographed. Somehow Molly goes beyond the face and finds the strength, vulnerability, power, hope and pride in a person. She can find that part that's been beaten down to the point that you think it's lost. Just when you're ready to give up on it you hear "Stop! Don't move. Right there."
These photos are more than great pictures that you want to show your friends, they are more than the perfect head shot. They are a window into a world that is often forgotten. Instead of categorizing and dividing us into small groups--butch, femme, trans, bears, fat, thin, dyke, lesbian, gay, southern, east coast, west coast, leather, religious, etc--this project brings us all together into one beautiful, powerful force. A force that covers every inch of this country and has the chance to change everything. This project is more than a project, it is a movement. A movement with the chance to change everything.

There are very few things that I feel this passionately about, but, my friends, even if it's only $5 put it towards something more lasting than a beer. Its not often that your money has the chance to change the life of both a young queer in Iowa, and every queer in the country. But don't take my word for it. Watch the trailer below.


Molly Landreth said...

Eli - I am speechless. I saw this pop up on Twitter and had no idea it was about ME! You have me crying (in the best way) over my morning coffee and I wish I could squeeze the living daylights out of you.

I love you buddy. Thank you for always being a great friend and a perfect model for all of my big queer pictures. xxx Molly

Eli VandenBerg said...

i was getting a little teary eyed writing it. you're amazing and i mean every word about this project. i'm proud to have been in on it in the very beginning.