This extraordinary book is about fifteen people with AIDS. It is about bravery and cowardice, style and weakness, honesty and self-deception, humor and bitterness. It is about the endless patience with the banality of this world, and about the rage that accrues as precious time slips away.
Nicholas Nixon’s straightforward and uncontrived photographs combine with Bebe Nixon’s faithful rendering of a myriad of conversations and letters, to make this a difficult and yet eminently important work. This book is a description of a single event, the onslaught of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and how it affected fifteen individuals, their families, and their friends. Each person in the book volunteered to work with the Nixons, and as the nature of the photographs and text make clear, the bonds that developed were powerful and intimate. A testament to a terrible cultural and physical phenomenon, this book is also a rare look at humanity as it faces the struggle of life and death.
Just as Nixon’s memorable pictures of the very old presented a journey into terrain toward which we inevitably move but rarely think about, these portraits of AIDS sufferers draw us into a shadowy place we may delude ourselves into thinking is not a destination in our “healthy” itineraries.
—Owen Edwards, American Photographer
These images . . . are the most searing, sobering, and unforgettable photographs of Nixon’s career. They may also be the most powerful images yet taken of the tragedy that is AIDS.
—Andy Grunberg, The New York Times