MONTREAL, Quebec – Go get your hair did, get on your white tee’s and start working on your three-quarter poses Montreal, because Adam Bouska and the NOH8 equality campaign are making their inaugural visit to Canada, and they are doing it in style with a public photo shoot this Saturday at the W Hotel.
Eat your hearts out Vancouver and Toronto, we got them first.
The NOH8 Campaign website explains what they do as “a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8.”
On November 4, 2008 Proposition 8 passed in California, which amended the state Constitution to legally ban same-sex marriage. It was this vote that motivated Adam Bouska to start a grassroots photo campaign that would eventually blossom into the international sensation that it is today.
For the few of you still living under a rock wondering “WTF are these guys talking about”, just think back and recall if you happen to have seen one of your favorite celebrities with their mouth taped up looking all smoldering in a form fitted white tee with red and black letters printed on top of their enviable cheekbones, and you my friend, have already experienced the NOH8 campaign.
In a telephone interview before his arrival on Thursday, Adam Bouska talked about what led the NOH8 campaign to choose Montreal ahead of other viable cities as their first official Canadian stop.
Want to see even more NOH8 awesomeness? Check out an extended version of this article on The Gaily.
“Montreal was selected because we have a great base of supporters there” said Adam Bouska “and we thought that it would be a great introduction into Canada.”
“We have a poll that we run from time to time trying to ask our following where they want us to go,” continued Bouska about the process of selecting Montreal for the first Canadian NOH8 shoot “so essentially we give them the chance to decide and give us their feedback where they want us to go.”
And believe it or not, the support of Canadians is something that means a great deal to the NOH8 campaign which is why a trip up north is more than just being a good neighbor.
“We need to show that we have supporters all over the world, and this is something that is always growing,” said Bouska about the importance of expanding the campaign outside of the US “and the fact that we have strength in numbers, and strength in our communities all over the world I think is going to send a message that can help battle discrimination in all sorts of different forms.”
Bouska agreed in fact that ahead of expanding the campaign outside of the US, the initial intent behind the group’s message has shifted from a localized California issue to that of a more global movement.
“For us it’s an anti-discrimination campaign essentially,” explained Bouska. “Any form of discrimination whether it’s skin colour or religion, no matter what it is, people are different and from different backgrounds and we just want people to be who they are.”
The expansion and the flexibility behind the message of the NOH8 campaign has allowed it to attract visible public support from some unlikely places. On one particular photo shoot Adam Bouska was taken by surprise when the wife of Republican Senator John McCain dropped in on a photo session being held with her daughter.
“During a photo shoot of mine with Meghan McCain for her book cover,” explained Bouska about the fateful encounter “there were no arrangements to photograph Cindy McCain that day and she came in, in a black turtle neck right before we were leaving for another location and she expressed how she liked Meghan’s photo and asked if she could be a part of it.”
The media frenzy that followed the photo shoot with Cindy McCain may never drown out the memory of when Joey Belladonna the lead singer for the heavy metal band Anthrax managed to pull a Chris Angel on the team and have his photo taken without being recognized.
“He just kind of snuck in,” explained Bouska “he was in and out, and nobody even knew it until we had gone through the photos after.”
Exposure for the NOH8 campaign on their first excursion into Canada coincides with the opening of the 19th annual “Divers/Cité” festival in Montreal which the official website says celebrates “the value of diversity in a spirit of sharing, solidarity and openness with the world.”
Divers/Cité organized the first Montréal LGBT pride celebrations in 1993. From that point and until 2006, Divers/Cité was comprised of three parts: the pride parade, the community fair and the arts and music festival. Following welcomed and increasingly positively views towards LGBT peoples and communities within contemporary society and after analyzing on-site client research, Divers/Cité’s organizing committee moved forward with a vision to create two distinct public LGBT events in Montréal: one event concentrated on community development and the other, a full-fledged arts and music festival. Divers/Cité is very proud to have produced Célébrations de la fierté LGBT de Montréal for 14 years and as such contributed to the evolution and strength of the LGBT movement.
To take part in the NOH8 photo shoot, and lend your face and voice to the cause of equality, head down to the W Hotel at 901 Square Victoria on Saturday, July 30th starting at 6PM.
Prices for photographs range from $40 for a solo portrait and $25 per person for a group photo with all proceeds going to the NOH8 charitable organization.
The nineteenth edition of Divers/Cité, runs from July 25 to 31 and will offer more than 47 hours of free outdoor performances spanning 7 days.
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