“Bryan and I, we love Sean,” says Davina Conner about photographer Sean Black. “He did a piece on me, and we have been close ever since. Bryan, the same way. It was great just having him there, taking the photos and capturing those moments, but also sharing that time together.”
Even within the tightknit community of HIV activists, the three long-term survivors of HIV share a special friendship. So, when Bryan C. Jones called Conner with the news that he was about to undergo treatment for his fourth bout with cancer, she reached out to Black for support and to document this profound chapter in their lives. They agreed to share the experience with Positively Aware for this issue’s cover story, which can be found here.
I think that having a photographer like Sean around, it changes the atmosphere, because of who he is, his energy.
“With all the negativity in the world, this is the type of story that I want people to read about,” Black says. “Dee brings a maternal force and energy to her work. She shines bright. She is a sister to many of us. Bryan is an incredible leader, storyteller and a fighter with a great wit. During a previous trip, he took me to his childhood home. I am enthralled by his years on Broadway as a chorus singer. When I heard from Dee that Bryan was undergoing cancer treatments again and that she was going to Cleveland to be with him and help out, I was moved.”
“I think that having a photographer like Sean around, it changes the atmosphere, because of who he is, his energy,” Conner says. “When he’s taking pictures, it doesn’t feel like he’s intruding on your space. You don’t feel nervous that someone’s snapping photos, because he makes you feel comfortable. He’s just capturing the moment, sharing these moments with us.”