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Lola Flash

Artist 31 Lola Flash AIDS ART

Lola Flash is an American photographer whose work has often focused on social, LGBT and feminist issues. An active participant in ACT UP during the time of the AIDS epidemic in New York City, Flash was notably featured in the 1989 "Kissing Doesn't Kill" poster.

She has been documenting the shifts in queer culture for over 30 years from the beginning of her career in the 1980s, much of Flash’s early photography documents anti-Reagan AIDS protests in New York.

Progressing through her body of work, Flash focuses on upsetting normalized and oppressive standards of gender, age, and race. Her portraiture includes images of queer avant-garde trendsetters, elegant older women, and every day trans folk. She challenges perceptions over sexuality, race, age and boundaries in space.

“I am black, queer, and female; those are the things that make me excited everyday to wake up and fight the world.” - Lola Flash

Today’s focus will be on her AIDS Art which reflects the 80s and 90s Aids epidemic and colourism within black communities in New York that she recorded in her time as an activist and member of ACT UP.

These images are filled with angst by the inversion of colour through the photo processing technique called cross-colour. Cross colour is where traditional colours are inverted to produce images that look like they are frozen in their negatives. By using this method to shoot queer life she empowered and immortalised her marginalised subjects in a world of their own.

The technically inverted nature of the photos reflect the disruption and destruction of this time to Flash’s community. It tells out and whilst visually pleasing holds deeper grounds into the fear and pain felt at the time.


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