so many skins, since
Edition of 10
Printed on Canson Edition Etching Rag
Here, on a crowded beach, is where I met the man who kidnapped me in 1974. Decades later, I stand for a moment of reflection. On this quiet morning, an advertisement grabbed my attention. It’s a PSA for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The bright message sparked a revelation. What would have once triggered anger and even shame, revealed a deep gratitude. On this ordinary day, I marvel at how much the world and I have changed. That boy, who was almost killed, has come so far. I have since lived a life of my own making. A life I am proud to be enjoying and sharing with you.
The moment inspired “so many skins, since”. I chose the exact anniversary, Memorial Day, to return and restage the shoot. This series of self portraits celebrates survival and growth. The portfolio will be available in limited editions of 10. For every print sold, I will be donating 100% of the profits to The Attic Youth Center. Please email me for information.
I was barely 15 when I learned Atlantic City was something of a gay resort. Excited to have a look, I hitchhiked there. At first glance it was all grown men, just as every other cruising spot I had found. But through the crowd I saw another boy. I was dumbfounded and relieved - I was no longer the only one. I paced back and forth, desperate to come up with a way to introduce myself. Suddenly a strange looking man blocked my path. Looking towards the boy, and without missing a beat, he said, “His name is Billy. Do you want to meet him?”
By that night, I was in the man’s Manhattan apartment. He kept me heavily sedated, offering me to other men to use. On the fourth night I found myself awake but suffering the effects of an unknown drug. Paralyzed and unable to defend myself, they sadistically raped me throughout the night.
I woke in the dark, dead silence of the early hours. Fearing I would be discovered, my heart pounded while I escaped. Dazed and disoriented, I was lost in the vastness of the city. I fumbled with false starts before my flight found direction. Terrified, I walked through a barren Times Square and beneath a maze of overpasses. Dwarfed by their towering pillars I clung to my determination. From the darkness I saw the final hurdle, the deep mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel. As the sun rose, I hitched a ride out of hell.
Today I stand here strong. Gratefully aging, rooted in my truth. 47 years after they thrilled at choking me, I freely inhale. I display what is real, sags and wrinkles, earned from a life defying their indifference. Coming to understand what I survived, I have peeled off so many skins, since.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
https://humantraffickinghotline.org, 1-888-373-7888 ( TTY: 711)|*Text 233733
#somanyskinssince #malesurvivors #growth #change #humantrafficking