Book Review: Positive Image – A Portrait of Gay America

Author: Stephen Steward
Title: Positive Image – A Portrait of Gay America
Call No: 779.930 STE

“Only in the past few decades has photography realized its paramount role in creating and capturing a positive image of gay men and lesbians in America. In our visually oriented Western culture, ‘seeing is believing,’ and photographs have a unique power to influence the way the world sees us. Still, ultimately more critical is how we come to see ourselves. And what we have begun to see is a new and radical positive self-identity, a liberating identity that acknowledges the positive difference we make within the larger society, while celebrating and embracing our individuality.”

Positive Image is a portrait of the estimated twenty million gay men and lesbians in America. Focusing on the people, places, events and symbols that have shaped Gay Liberation, this photo documentary book is the first of its kind to embrace the historic gay movement in this country.

Author-photographer Stephen Stewart has captured this struggle for the positive self-identity in images as diverse and intimate as those of Connie O’Connor, an openly lesbian sheriff, Reno’s annual Gay Rodeo, a gay and lesbian running club, the AIDS rally in Los Angeles, the Mr. Gay California contest, the Windy City Chorus, celebrated poet Allen Ginsberg, Tony Award-winning actor – playwright Harvey Fierstein, and other well-known artists and activists including Christopher Isherwood, Rita Mae Brown, and Armistead Maupin. A face-to-face look at the gay men and lesbian women who are affirming their own positive images, this powerful book portrays the courageous leaders and heroes, the celebrated and the ordinary individuals who make up this significant movement.

Source: Summary of the book