photo of the day 1/25/2012. photo © Mark I Chester
I am posting this photograph of my friend Rostom Mesli with his love Matthieu Garance Dupas in honor of Rostom's birthday. It was taken June 2011 in San Francisco, the day after Gay Pride When we originally went through the photos we chose a similar image, but with more of a smile. But in going through them again, I have really been transfixed by this image because both Rostom and Matthieu look so present and so open. Every photographer seeks a moment in time in which he captures some kind of basic or essential truth. Where you feel as if you could look right through Rostom's and Matthieu's eyes and know what they are feeling inside.
Our communities are going through a tremendous amount of change. I knew things would change as I grew older, I just didn't realize how fast it would happen. This is a different city now filled with different men. Their culture is different. Their signposts are different. The very things that made us all who we were, have for the most part disappeared. Many of us feel like ghosts from a different time and a different universe, walking through this strange new world and mostly feeling out of place and out of time.
So what does any of this have to do with Rostom? We need cultural historians like Rostom who are interested in and fascinated by the past. Who we were. How we came to be here and do these things. Our rituals, our families, our haunts and our passions. In studying, learning, remembering and teaching, I believe that it keeps those men and those women alive. And each new person with whom that information is shared acts as a witness and rails against our inevitable disappearance as we slowly fade away. Some are worried about the death of leather. I am not. It is not dying, it is changing. It will never be what it was and we can't possibly know what it will become. All I know is that when Rostom writes his autobiography, he had better give me a whole damn chapter. <eg> Happy Birthday, Rostom!