In 1994, I worked with Boston AIDS activist Marc Sawyer to illustrate a pamphlet he had written, The Forty Ways to Fight Against AIDS.
The forty ways are simple: clean the house of a person who has AIDS, be a buddy to a person with AIDS, help raise money, be active politically, participate in a walk against AIDS, help out with plumbing problems, electrical problems, etc. Nothing backbreaking. Each of them grounded in the minutiae of our daily lives. The last one, number forty is: think about it every day.
Bob Quinn came to my studio to pose with his buddy, David Begley, for #6 Be a Buddy. Bob is a yacker and so am I. He mentioned he had six scrapbooks of obituaries of people in our community who had died after suffering with AIDS. I begged him to pose for me with his scrapbooks and Dave agreed to drive him back over a few days later. No small thing. This was the winter of 1994 in Boston. Going through his scrapbooks, I found the obituaries of one of my first and favorite clients, Mark Scarlet, and of his friend, who I also photographed, Rob Doyle. They were on facing pages in Bob's book. Bob told me that he was worried what to do with his scrapbooks. He had called local AIDS organizations and no one wanted them and no one wanted to continue his work.