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'Together' distant, yet moving

Michela Caudill's photographs of people with AIDS and their care givers have a strange effect: They make you feel outside. That is to their credit.

Caudill has spent the last two years photographing people with AIDS and the range of their care givers: doctors and nurses, but also friends, family and volunteers. The result is an exhibit of black and white photographs that tells the stories of a few individuals, accompanied by texts to reveal the courage of the sick and the devotion of the care givers.

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There is the story of Garey Lambert, who has AIDS, and David VanDerMark, with whom he has lived for 10 years. "People often misunderstand what AIDS has brought to our lives," writes VanDerMark. "The first thing said is how can you cope, oh how awful, etc. (their fear comes through). But for me it has simply been part, sometimes a big part of the life Garey and I share together."

There is the story of Laurie Priddy Hurn, who has AIDS, and Steve Hurn, whom she recently married. "On July 10 I was proposed to, and by a man who was not HIV positive," she says. "It was the happiest day of my life." He says, "We took each other for who we were, loving what we know, and trusting what we don't know."

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Caudill's photographs record these people and their lives in a straightforward, moving but unsentimental way.

It may seem a mistake at first that Caudill has chosen to deal with nine different stories in this exhibit. One wants to be closer to these people, to understand them better, and there is a tendency to wish that she had told one or two stories in greater depth.

But then comes the realization that we, the viewers, are outside these stories, and a thousand photographs would not put us inside them. Caudill treats her subjects with sympathy and respect, realizing that she, too, cannot know the whole story of what goes on between these people, of what they feel. They are treated here with essential dignity and restraint, and in the end the show is more moving because of that.

'Together with AIDS'

Where: School 33, 1427 Light St.

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until Jan. 5

Call: (410) 396-4641



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