A Texas photographer who uses imagery to uplift, spread awareness and progression of the LGBTQ community visibility is teaming up with Facebook for Pride.
Texas photographer Eric Edward Schell spent a lot of his life being invisible. Growing up, Schell was a victim of violent bullying because he was a gay man of color. He spent his twenties were spent trying to find a place and identity in a society where he didn't fit the "norm." The struggles sent him into years of alcohol and substance abuse. When Schell got sober at 31 he found a way to be a part of his community, one that wasn't centered around drugs, sex, or alcohol. Activism.
The attack at Pulse nightclub in 2016 took the lives of 49 people from the LGBTQ Community and prompted Schell's work to bring visibility to his community through photography. It turns out that is exactly what the community needed. Schell photographed individuals who were being interviewed about the shooting in front of this colorful wall. He received an amazing response when he posted the images to Facebook that night. Schell decided to create a Facebook event titled Pride Portraits to take more of the colorful images of people from the community. He was amazed when over 100 people showed up, mostly strangers from Facebook.
Put it out there, you never know who will see it
Schell didn't see Pride Portraits coming to an end any time soon so he connected with Hugo Perez for a commissioned painted backdrop he could use from then on. Perez created this beautiful energetic backdrop in the colors of the Pride flag. Schell has now partnered with major organizations such as Human Rights, Equality Texas, GLAAD, GLSEN, and PFLAG. To date, Pride Portraits has photographed over 3,500 LGBTQIA+ community members and allies.
This weekend, Pride Portraits partnered with Facebook as part of the Pride Programming and celebrations. Schell and his team will be spending time at the Facebook headquarters photographing some of their employees and joining them in the San Francisco Pride Parade. Schell's dedication and passion for the project led to some amazing opportunities so far, he credits it to putting his work out there for the world to see and staying humble and selfless. To explore the images or learn more about the project visit the Pride Portraits website.