Through Positive Eyes, an exhibition of photos and stories by people living with HIV and AIDS, was meant to launch at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center in Seattle, in July 2020, starting with an intensive ten-day training workshop. This training was intended to support a group of people living with HIV, in learning how to share their stories and photographic images to confront the stigma associated with the illness. On account of COVID-19, the expected workshop had to be reconsidered. The result was an extended five-month version of the group workshop, augmented by individual sessions, during which the cohort bonded as a collective, considered various aspects of their HIV stories, and developed unique visual approaches and individual photographic voices.

“The results have exceeded our expectations,” commented Gideon Mendel, co-director of the Through Positive Eyes project. “An amazingly rich and diverse set of images has emerged—both creatively astonishing and politically powerful. This moment, when we are all so concerned about the COVID virus, reminds us of the continued challenges that people living with the HIV virus are still facing around the world.”

The original intention was for the photo-stories to be presented live in the galleries of the Gates Foundation Discovery Center, for school and community groups, and for members of the public. With the closure of all museum spaces in Seattle, these “Banishing Stigma” presentations have been moved online. Groups and especially school groups from anywhere in the world are able to sign up by visiting the Discovery Center’s website.

Alora

Alora

Alora (she/her) is originally from San Diego, but has been living in Seattle for six years. She is a mother of two beautiful, tiny to mid-sized humans, as well as a dog, cat, and lots of plants. She …

Andrew

Andrew

Andrew (he/him) is originally from Portland, Oregon, and has been living in Seattle for 14 years. He prefers to avoid labels, however he does feel comfortable stating that he is “a man who loves …

Bill

Bill

Bill (he/him) is an Alaskan native, originally from a small fishing village called Hoonah. He has been living in Seattle off and on since 1971. He is a Tlinget Indian of the Raven Clan. He identifies …

C.L.

C.L.

C.L. (she/her) is originally from Texas and has been living in Seattle for three years, off and on. She self-identifies as a nonbinary transfemme and has been living with HIV for eight years. She is …

Edward

Edward

Edward (he/him) was born in St. Louis Missouri and has been living in Seattle for one year. He self-identifies as a heterosexual man and has been living with HIV since birth. Edward became public …

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo (he/him) was born in Havana, Cuba in 1954. He lived in New York City from the age of 12, where he attended The High School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, and The Fashion Institute of …

Julene

Julene

Julene (she/her), is a native New Yorker, who moved to Seattle in 1989. She identifies as a bisexual. She has a long history studying Chinese and Western herbal medicine; she is certified as a green …

Kelly G.

Kelly G.

Kelly G. (she/her) was born and raised in Los Angeles and has been living with HIV since 2010. Part of her healing after diagnosis was sharing what she was going through with her friends. After …

Kelly H.

Kelly H.

Kelly H. (she/her) was born in Anacortes, Washington, and has been living in Seattle for 15 years. She has been living with HIV for 20 years, and has been sharing her story publicly for 19 of them. …

Kia

Kia

Kia (she/her) was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She has moved to other places, but has always come back home to the Emerald City. She currently serves as the Lead Peer Case Manager at the …

Pat

Pat

Pat (she/her) has been living in Seattle since 1978. A long-term survivor, Pat is a pioneer in the Seattle HIV/AIDS community. She is one of the founding members of BABES Network and has used her …

Positively Positive

Positively Positive

Positively Positive (they/them) Positively Positive Education Productions, LLC and {multiply marginalized} black, queer, transgender, HIV+ since birth, Asexual, Aromantic and a survivor of childhood …

Supporters

Through Positive Eyes in Seattle was organized in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center and Storytellers for Change. Major funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with ongoing support from The Herb Ritts Foundation.