Photographer B. Proud's exhibition "First Comes Love," initiated before the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality ruling, helped change minds by featuring both celebrity and everyday LGBTQ couples who had been together for decades, documenting their love through photographs, stories, and videos. Select photos and stories were later collected in a book of the same name (available at FirstComesLove.org and select bookstores).
Proud's latest series, "First Comes Love 2: Transcending Love," premiered November 15 at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Wilton Manors, Fla., where the exhibition ran through February 2020. This project, which launched two years ago, focused on transgender and gender-nonconforming couples, and pictured them celebrating the beauty of their love and commitment for each other amid today's divisive political climate.
For the past 20 years, Proud (nee Barbara Proud) has worked around the globe, pursuing her passions and capturing the world through her lens. In addition to building a roster of clients including the Human Rights Campaign, the Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, and Meals on Wheels, Proud has won acclaim in several national and international exhibitions.
"Transcending Love" was a culmination of months spent on the road, traveling across the United States, to interview, spend time with, and capture the lives of nearly 60 couples. Proud received unprecedented access to trans people's private lives, for example photographing a pregnant man and his partner (both before and after the birth of their child). This first show features nearly 20 portraits, including one of The Advocate's editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshall, and her trans husband, deputy editor Jacob Anderson-Minshall. Images of the remaining portraits are projected on a screen played on a loop throughout the exhibition.
Noting that preparing and shipping the artwork to an exhibition space can run $10,000 per showing -- and funding for the trans show has fallen short of what it was for marriage equality images, Proud launched a GoFundMe page. She hopes to fund future exhibits and continue photographing more trans and gender-nonconforming couples and families (so far she's only photographed half of those who've volunteered).