Faces of Equality ~Beth Kukucka

I came to support a friend. I left supporting a cause.

A few Thursday nights ago I walked into the Mendelson Gallery on Edgeworth Street in Shadeyside, PA.

I stood alone in the center of an empty room.  The walls were covered with different photographs of married couples. The portraits all of happy, smiling, joy-filled couples all sharing a single story. There I stood by myself taking in the imagery. I would come to find out that this time alone in the space would be a special event for myself.

Walking out of the back room appears a well dressed older woman wearing artfully framed eye glasses and a stylish, short, cropped hair-do.  She approaches me and politely asks if I wouldn’t mine coming back in half an hour when the exhibits opens to the public. I respond, “Thank God I thought this show was a failure”. I couldn’t believe that I was standing there alone. She smiles back at me and says “See you in half an hour, honey”.

I walked down the street to a bar, the actual name was “The Pub”.  I ordered a draft and nursed it for the next half hour. I finished my beer and asked the bartender for the check.  She slid the white paper bill over to me and it read $11.00. I double check to make sure that I was not being billed twice for a single drink.  I was not.  Damn, this place is expensive for being named the “Pub”.

I walked back to gallery.  The night air was cold, with a strong breeze, it felt like the holidays.

This time getting back into the gallery would not be as easy. I found myself standing in a line about 15 people back, all waiting to get in to see the photos.  When I finally make it back inside, the place is packed, body to body.  It’s hard to even see the work on the wall.  I could not believe that only a little over a half hour ago I got to stand in this space all alone.  That turned into being a gift in itself to me.  I love seeing this place packed;  the people of Pittsburgh all turning out for a gallery opening on a Thursday night. This is good news for my upcoming show in February (insert shameless plug here).

The artist I came to support was Beth Kukucka. Long time good friend and photographer whose fine art portfolio has inspired me over the years.

One of the things that I love about photography is when you are attracted to a photo, yet the reason why is beyond words. This gallery space was lined up with great photos and the one I kept going back to is shown above this post.  What is extra special to me about this is that the photo was taken by Beth.  I should stop saying I support her work;  I came to enjoy her work.  Supporting work feels like an artistry thing to say. Only later in the evening did I discover that this photo was take by Beth.

Across the crowded room I see Beth and her wife, Stephanie, entering the gallery.  I wiggle my way across the room, saying many “excuse me” and “pardon me”, “my apologies” and “yes, please” to the kind waitress re-filling my glass of wine.

The name of the show that was displaying 3 of Beth’s photos was named “Faces of Equality”, featuring gay and lesbian married couples.

Before this exhibits if you would have asked me if I supported gay rights I would answer yes, but not in any meaningful way. What I mean by “yes” is yes to marriage equality for all, but I have never done anything positive to help further the cause than polite conversation with family and friends.  It is to be hoped that this blog today will be me stepping further into the right direction.

Here is the problem with supporting a cause: there are just too many causes to support.  Who, how, what to pick is an undertaking itself.  I live with Neuromyelitis Optica and you would think that I would support that disease through several activities, but honestly I am lousy at it. I just want this damn disease to go away.  I am not giving my money or time to something that has already taken so much from me already.

Marriage equality doesn't take, it only gives.  This is good.

Here I stand, a 44yr old married, white, middle-class man in a room with all different races, genders, beliefs and loves. In this room tonight I am a minority (rare thing for a white male to experience). My life choices are supported by governments and religions.  For the majority of the people at this exhibit their’s is not. Let me tell you what it is like being a minority in a room full of people who are fighting and praying for marriage equality:

Motivating. Humbling. Awakening.

Equality is an interesting word.  For  the word “equality” to be effective, the use of the word needs to be forgotten. The use of the word “equality” is nothing more than a reminder of the injustices put upon those who love.

I have a 7 year old daughter and hopefully she will never know what marriage equality is.  May she only know the word “marriage” when looking at married couples, all types.

For today the word needs to be side by side for the message to ring out strong and purposefully.

As the night went on speeches were given regarding what to do to help the cause. My favorite speech was about having conversations with your neighbors about marriage equality.  I like this idea.  Take it to the streets.  Jesus did this. He walked the road to spread his message.  There were temples and courts in his day where he could reach the masses, but he decided to spread his gospel one conversation at a time.

In my lifetime I have never met anyone who is against gay marriage who has a gay friend.

Conversation tears down walls and friendships build new bridges.

Go make a friend.
Have a conversation.



This will be my first night in 8 yrs that I will not be shooting "Light Up Night".  For those you that have been asking where have I been? I been out in the universe doing good deeds. Here is a photo take couple of weeks back.

Other Random Updates: 

The date will be February 9, 2014. It will run from 10am till 2pm. Cost is $150 and includes a light lunch.

 Registration here: https://www.eventbrite.com/event/9045528419


Work in Progress

This is a rough edit. More to come. Just wanted to put out a sneak peak!




Current Reading: Aleph by Paulo Coelho
Current Music: Unplugged by Eric Clapton
Mood: Its 8:41 am and I have all ready been to a dance party, mood it good, real good!
Smells: Dehumidified air
Sounds: Fan
Temperature: Cold, winter has arrived
Thoughts: For those who wish to enjoy life, never stop walking.