Nelson Edwin Rodriguez

"Nelson Edwin Rodriguez, born in Puerto Rico in 1974, grew up in the Bronx, and died in 1996, at 22. In that short time, he starred in a movie (The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love), performed in Miami, Houston, Boston and Manchester, UK, and made countless friends, performance videos and photographs. His friends called him "The Counselor," after Diana Troy, his favorite character on Star Trek. He had lovely long Barbara Streisand fingernails and he liked to dance to Bette Midler. He had incredible wit, and perfect physical timing. He loved to dress in drag, but when he went home to the Bronx, he would put on his boots and sweatshirt, and try to stay under the radar, become invisible (he learned to walk so he wouldn't swish)."

"We see a lot of Nelson in these pictures. In them, he takes advantage of his environment and creates art from it, narrating his own experiences and fantasies. The photos give us both his biography (a time and a place) and his autobiography (a view of his interior). His images blur gender, identity and sexuality through self-portraiture. Many of his photos are performative, of himself posing as different characters, each telling a piece of a different story in his/her own world. Nelson created powerful images, full of emotion and life and we feel lucky for this chance to share them with you.For their generous recollections of Nelson, we thank Bridget Hughes and Lisa Ross. Bridget ran the youth program at the LGBT Center on 13th Street in NYC with Barbara Bickert during the years Nelson was there, and Lisa was his photography teacher at the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ Youth. At Nelson's wish, Bridget and Barbara are the Executors of his Estate and artwork."

Boris Torres Visual AIDS