With the HIV work, what drives me is that during the early 80s a lot of my friends were diagnosed with AIDS (there was no differentiation then). And I did actually lose a whole circle of friends. At the time I was working at the school of fine arts and I remember one day catching the train back from work with a colleague and I mentioned that I had a lot of friends that had been diagnosed, that I was their emotional support. He looked and me and said, What else do you think you could be doing?

And I thought, well, okay, I can use my skills in photography. I decided to hand the camera over to people that wanted to become involved and with a tape recorder, so they were defining their own stories, writing their own stories rather than being written about or spoken about by sociologists, or medical practitioners. That’s how I started the Self-Imaging Project [Self Documentation, Self Imaging: People Living With HIV/AIDS 1988].

Also, this might sound a little bit corny, [but] issues of discrimination and stigma -“ I find them stressful. They piss me off. I suppose on a personal level I’ve experienced discrimination myself as well but in AIDS Inc it’s reverse discrimination, and it’s because I’m not HIV-positive. I’ve experienced that quite intensely.

I suppose there’s always been that passion from an early age. I remember at the age of nine I gave a 10-minute talk on discrimination -“ I had this kind of heavy book on indigenous culture and discrimination. I was very quiet and reserved, then one day I gave this talk and was very passionate and full-on, then I went back to my mousy self. I stopped taking photographs in the late 80s. I don’t really pick up a camera. I have a huge distrust of photographs. I drive the people in the office crazy -“ I have issues about representation.

© Star Observer 2019 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.