Friday, September 23, 2011

At the Great Lakes Leather Alliance weekend, a picture is worth . . .

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #426, September 23, 2011)

Wow, have I taken a lot of photographs over the years! I never realized how many until I was asked to give a leather history presentation and started going through all my photos.

The presentation was part of the recent Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) weekend in Indianapolis, Ind. A leather weekend in the heart of conservative Indiana? Yes, and in its tenth year, too. GLLA brought together members of the gay, lesbian, and pansexual leather/BDSM/fetish community primarily but not exclusively from the Great Lakes region. It was a jam-packed weekend with four concurrent leather contests and over 40 educational seminars. The seminar I presented was called “I Was There: A Photojournalistic Review of Leather History.”

To put that presentation together, I went through all the photos I’ve taken or collected since getting into leather in 1993. The cliché with photos is that most people have them crammed in a shoebox. My photo library fills three large boxes, the equivalent of 12 shoeboxes each. And those are just the ones taken using a film camera. (Remember film?) The more recent photos were taken digitally and occupy space only on my computer’s hard drive. But still, film and digital, there were lots of photos to go through, and lots of happy memories came back to me as I went through the photos.

For the presentation I used about 350 photos that best told the story of the last eighteen years of the leather community as I saw and photographed them. The presentation included photos of club events, contests and titleholders, evenings at leather bars and bar events, and Leather Pride celebrations and parades through the years.

Some of these photos have been exhibited at the Leather Pride booth at the Twin Cities Pride festival or at other Minnesota Leather Pride events. Some of them will be included in a book I’m planning to publish. But right now, you can visit the Lavender website and see a selection of photos from the presentation.

So, what’s a picture worth? A thousand words, and a ton of memories.