Michael Sharkey’s photographs are intimate testaments to his subjects’ powerful self- awareness; at once empathetic and opulent, they are the visual counterpart to the voice these young people have struggled—and lately succeeded—to find. Rooted in the long tradition of portraiture reaching back through influences as varied as Velázquez and Avedon, Sharkey’s images grant his subjects a full measure of the dignity with which they deserve to be seen. “I think I’ll always be drawn to this amazingly brave group. Their strength is a continual source of inspiration for me” says Sharkey. “It is their defiance that I want to capture in the portraits. What I hope people might also see is the delight that is the domain of a new generation: the sheer joy of being able to stand up and be seen without shame.”
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