Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mark Morrisroe was a photographer. He was born in 1959 in Boston and died in 1989 from AIDS. His mother was a drug-addicted prostitute. At 13, Morrisroe left home and began a life of prostitution. One of his disgruntled johns shot him; he carried a bullet in his chest for the rest of his life. His painting and photography won him a place at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. But he continued to indulge in drugs and public nudity, so the school kicked him out.

Morrisroe became friends with a number of famous photographers, including Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, Jack Pierson, and Philip Lorca diCorcia. Most of Morrisroe's photographs were self-portraits which formed a visual diary of his life. He worked in both color and black-and-white, and preferred spontaneous rather than staged images.

Morrisroe became infected with HIV. Toward the end of his life, he spent so much time in the hospital that he set up a dark room in the shower. When he died, 2,000 Polaroids were found at his bedside along with a number of Super-8 films.

"It kills me to look at my old photographs of myself and my friends. We were such beautiful, sexy kids but we always felt bad because we thought we were ugly at the time. It was because we were such outcasts in high school and so unpopular. We believed what other people said. If any one of us could have seen how attractive we really were we might have made something better of our lives. I'm the only guy that I know who wanted to runaway to be a prostitute."

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