Adam Bouska in New York City for NOH8 Campaign Shoots Blogger Zee Bdr

Photographer ADAM BOUSKA

 became a LGBT activist quite by accident. He calls it “accidental activism“. Gosh, he has come a long way in the 6 years we have known him!

We met Adam in 2003.  He was living in the suburbs of Chicago and had just graduated college where he studied Computer Science. Being a photographer myself, I was always on the lookout for fresh new young talent. I met Adam and asked him to pose for me. During the shoot, he confided that Computer Science was not really his passion. And though he was dabbling with modeling, it was the art of photography that really intrigued him.

Shortly afterwords, Adam moved to Southern Californina. We stayed in touch now and then through  MySpace and watched as his young budding career began to blossom.

It didn’t take long and his name was sprouting up everywhere!

In November 2008, Proposition 8 in California happened. California wanted to put a stop to the idea of gay marriage. The defeat of Prop 8 provoked a groundswell of activism within the LGBTQ community and many new political and protest organizations were formed in response to the defeat. It was like Stonewall was happening again!

Adam, his partner Jeff Parshley  and some friends attended the Prop 8 rallies in Los Angeles. Afterwords, they got so emotionally stirred they knew they wanted to do something,  to make some kind of statement. He and a dozen friends went to the store and bought some paints and duct tape, went back to his apartment and shot photos. Using photography as his voice, Adam placed tape over their mouths and painted the now famous NOH8 on their cheeks, and the next day posted their images to MySpace and Facebook, to demonstrate their silent protest. Anyone familiar with Prop 8, have seen his work!

Before he knew it, a dozen more friends wanted to do the same thing . Adam shot more photos and those friends also posted them online. The next month 30 of their friends wanted the same photos! It started to grow exponentially. In the 6 months that followed it exploded and nearly 500 people had been photographed and pictures were flooding the Internet.

Soon celebrities want to join in and show their support. To date, 3,000+ faces have been shot by Adam and his team for the NOH8 Campaign. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more. 

Cindy McCain, wife of former Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, was even photographed by Adam, speaking out on behalf of gay marriage rights as part of a popular ongoing photo campaign. “Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn’t matter – marriage equality isn’t a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It’s about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.”
The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, appearing on various local and national news programs and publications. The images are currently being used on various social networking sites to spread the message of equality, predominantly Facebook and Twitter. Eventually the images are expected to be compiled for a large-scale media campaign. The group just shot their 3rd PSA. There has been talks of  billboards, possible calendar, coffee table books and even a documentary.

Just last month the team shot 500 people in 5 hours in New York City. Among them, were one of our favorite New York City gay bloggers ZEE BDR from Z Reveals!
Z knows only too well what fear, hate and silence can breed. Coming from Turkey, he shared his moving story with the guys from I’M FROM DRIFTWOOD.

He was very excited to be photographed by Adam!

Finally!!! I joined to NOH8 campaign. It was time. I’m so proud of being part of this campaign. Photo shoot was very fast. Adam Bouska is a great photographer. He made me feel relaxed. Adam loved my blue flower as soon as he saw. Hello Adam! Join to THE blue flower fan club! I’m so happy to see he was creative with  and turned blue flower into red.

Well! Meghan McCain got her picture!
Of course prominent blogger Z had to have his! –Tee Hee Hee!”

I am still waiting to be a part of your blue flower project, Zee!
Maybe this year sometime!

Adam hopes to tour  more major cities soon, doing more open shoots and spreading the message across the country. “This is much bigger than just  about Prop 8.  And when we win this, when Prop 8 is overturned, and it will be,  we’re not stopping.  It’s about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell….it’s about gay civil rights….it’s about equal rights…it’s about making our silence heard….it’s about the big picture now! And we have only just begun!”  Groups as far away as Germany and  Australia have even started similar campaigns. 

Remember when Gay Pride and National Coming Out  day was just once a year? Thanks to the power of Social Media and the interconnectedness of the Internet these days, we can make a statement about who we are and show the world our messages. “Activism needs to be a part of your DAILY LIFE and your lifestyle. Not just once a year.”

THE NOH8 store online  has t-shirts, bumper stickers, tattoos and my favorite, THE BRACELET! 

Funds raised by the NOH8 Campaign will be used to continue promoting and raising awareness for Marriage Equality and anti-discrimination on a global level through an educational and interactive media campaign.

Adam Bouska
Adam Bouska MySpace
Adam Bouska FaceBook

Michael  Snell and Derrick Sorles   BEST GAYNEW YORK/ BEST GAY NEWS


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