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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Photo Realism: Artist Bill Fink Uses Human Ash to Create a ..Visual AIDS"


Advocate (06/02/92) No. 604, P. 80

Artist Bill Fink was looking for various materials to use in processing photos and found himself using a cremated chicken bone. Later, he used human ash to develop the photographs. "I had been trying to figure out the most powerful medium I could use in the photographic process," he noted, adding that "Ash is a way to capture both time and matter." Fink soon launched a project that would consist of a dozen "ash photographs" of people who have died of AIDS. Already, he has completed two photos in the series, which he hopes will function as a memorial to those afflicted by the disease. "I figure it's easy to walk away from a picture of someone, but not when you know that the photo is made from the person." But Fink has encountered some difficulties with his project resulting from his Jewish upbringing which forbids cremation. However, he did receive the support he needed to continue with his project from Jews in the local art community, especially from Los Angeles gallery owner Jan Kesner. "I like Bill's concept and approach and encourage him to continue with his idea. Generations from now will look back at this time and see just how deeply this disease affected our community," said Kesner. Although Fink completed a show of paintings he considers commercial potential, for now he wishes to devote his time to the ash photos.


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Information in this article was accurate in June 2, 1992. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.