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Tue 13 Feb 2007 In: Events View at NDHA

Brian Andrews “The exhibit is not really about myself. It’s really about the people who kindly let me photograph them. The people who’ve taken the energy and the time to in getting themselves ready to go to a function, I’ve just been able to capture that. All the drag queens, and the leather guys, all the all rest – hours upon hours goes into making them look beautiful and gorgeous and exciting. I’m just really the lucky one who’s captured the photo.” – Brian Andrews At the weekend, he captured the wide diversity of our community with dozens of images for our galleries at GayNZ.com. Last night he introduced an exhibit with highlights from a decade of his LGBT photography. I thought it polite to wait until the afternoon to call Brian Andrews on his special day – after all, it seems he’s been up half the night sorting through and emailing off all the photos from the sunny ‘Big Gay Out’ fair day. Brian says he looks forward to the day each year, since everybody goes, “from the drag queens, to the leather men, and all the others.” February is always highlighted on Brian’s calendar – the HERO Festival events and parties are extra special for the larger than life and ultra-friendly lensman. “It’s wonderful, because you get passes to all these events, and end up in the front row because you’re taking the pictures.” It seems he misses the parade though. “The parades are about my community performing, to the people who perhaps mightn’t ever see anything like that. People came from far away to see those parades. Taking pictures of the floats and the people looking on was a real buzz." “But there’s always so much on offer all the time, like the Urge bar nights and Family – all special in their own right.” Brian was always a photographer of weddings and events, but found his niche when he ‘came out’ ten years ago. “I first went to Legends and thought it was terribly exciting,” he says boyishly, “with all the drag queens and everyone. I instantly felt comfortable. So then I just went knocking on the door of Express and said to [then-editor and co-publisher] Jay Bennie, ‘I’ll be your photographer, should you wish.’ They said yes, and off I went!” Standing up at last week’s Gay Auckland Business Association meeting, Brian gave the gathered community leaders a sneak peek at a few of the photos to be displayed in Aotea centre over the next couple of weeks. “You might be surprised at how much some of you in the room have changed over the decade,” he warned, smiling at his many friends in the crowd. There’ll be a lot of happy memories on show, and, sadly, a few treasured images showing people who have now passed on. Brian says he visited Courtney Cartier, namesake of the Cartier Bereavement Charitable Trust, regularly in Herne Bay House just before her death. “Courtney and I got on so very well, and it made me so sad to visit in her last days in hospital. I can truly say that I’d do anything I can for people who are dying of AIDS.” BRIAN ANDREWS - A PHOTOGRAPHIC RETROSPECTIVE SPANNING A DECADE 13th – 24th February, Aotea Gallery, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE, Auckland 8.30am - 5.30pm (Weekdays) 10.00am - 4.00pm (Weekends)     Matt Akersten - 13th February 2007

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Tuesday, 13th February 2007 - 12:00pm

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