In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with photographer Joel Benjamin and producer John O’Connell about their new LGBTQ exhibition “The Bear Sessions: Portraiture” a series of photographs being showcased at the Boston Center for Adult Education. BCAE is premiering the show with their second annual “Sip the Rainbow” cocktail reception from 6P-8P on May 17th. The exhibit runs through June 2013. The Bear Sessions resulted in images of over 80 gay men from Cape Cod to Texas reflecting an identity and sexuality not represented in mainstream media. Within the Bear community the photos embrace masculinity in unique and individual ways. They represent strength, passion, joy, vulnerability and most importantly authenticity not represented in iconic gay imagery. In this exhibition of 24 photos from the project’s portraiture their subjects display confidence and self-acceptance encouraging viewers to celebrate those same qualities of confidence, pride and passion within themselves. We talked to Joel and John about their groundbreaking show and issues facing our LGBT community.
When asked what their personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Benjamin stated, “For me I’d say it’s been a lifetime documentation of the community. I’ve been photographing the Boston LGBT community for probably thirty years now, even before I was a professional photographer. It’s always just been a way to learn and involve myself.” O’Connell added, “For me my commitment really started in college. I went to the University of California Riverside and I actually got arrested in a civil disobedience protest in California for the AB101 Veto Riot in 1991 which was exciting, but actually not a big deal. But I think for us everything we can do to just live our own lives as honestly as possible and, of course, every gala every event we’re at, we’re either documenting or just being a part of, is an everyday part of our lives.”
“Sip the Rainbow” opening reception for The Bear Sessions: Portraiture will be held on Friday, May 17th from 6P to 8P at the Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington Street, Boston, MA. There is a $20 donation which includes three complimentary unique Grey Goose cocktails created by local mixologists using the colors of the gay pride flag as their inspiration signature cocktails. This is a fabulous way to celebrate the 9th anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts and the beginning of the gay pride season. All proceeds to benefit the BCAE.
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