Art & Autobiography

Jesus Days 1978 – 1983 by

During my twenties, I was fervent Believer in Christ and an in-the-closet gay young man.  I worked for a national evangelical organization called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I traveled to college and university campuses where I met Christian students, lead prayer meetings and taught Born Again students how to witness for Jesus to their non-believing peers. I was involved in evangelistic outreach on the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during spring break, summer camps and weekend conferences, witnessing on campuses, and missionary trips to Central America. By 1983, after many years struggling with my sexual identity, I left the ministry, came out as a gay man, moved to New York City and entered the graduate film program at Columbia University. I was thirty years old.

Jesus Days, 1978-1983 are photographs (originally Kodachrome/Ektachrome slides) that I took of my own circle of friends. At that time, I was an untutored photographer with no ambition to make pictures other than my own pleasure and as a record of my friends and the world in which I lived. Because this was a period that I didn’t want to re-visit, I left the slides in carousels collecting dust for more than two decades. It is a view from inside the gay religious closet.

For more photos from the series, and more in depth stories on the people in the photos, make sure to visit Greg Reynolds’ blog here.

Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Greg Reynolds moved to New York City where he obtained an MFA degree in Film from Columbia University. He has taught black/white photography at Barnard College and currently assists at the School of the International Center of Photography. Prior to his move to New York and coming out as a Gay man, Greg was an Evangelist for a conservative American Christian ministry that promoted Jesus on University and College campuses.

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