Brian Weil collection
Scope and Contents
The collection is divided into three series: Papers, Audiovisual Materials, and Photographic Materials.
Series 1: Papers, is comprised of ten boxes documenting and supporting Weil's photographic career, including correspondence, exhibition files and labels, publications and printed materials, appointment books, a video transcript, and other materials.
Series 2: Audiovisual Materials series contains 8 boxes of various videotapes, audiocassette tapes, and filmstrips. These materials include footage of Act-Up demonstrations across the United States, Weil's lectures, interviews and oral histories with people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as an interview with Weil and “Brian Weil: The AIDS Photographs,” a VHS tape concerning the exhibition of his photographic documentation around HIV and AIDS, organized by the International Center of Photography.
Series 3: Photographic Materials series includes 29 boxes of contact sheets, negatives, slides, transparencies, and photographs by Weil.
- Weil, Brian (Person)
Language of Materials
Material in English
Conditions Governing Access
To access materials from this collection, please contact CCP-RefDesk@email.arizona.edu
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright held by Kenneth C. Weil.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.
The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement
Brian Weil (1954-1996), was a photographer and activist who spent his career documenting marginalized communities, using photography as an excuse to become deeply immersed in the lives of others. Weil was born in Chicago and began photographing as a teenager where he attended Columbia College, before moving to New York City. His early projects include Sex, an exploration of fetish practices such as workers in sex clubs, bondage, and bestiality; Miami Crime, developing over two years Weil spent with Miami Police Department detectives during homicide investigations; and Hasidim, for which Weil lived with insular Hasidic Jewish communities in Brooklyn and the Catskills.
Weil became involved in the AIDS crisis as a volunteer and organizer in the mid-1980s; he volunteered with Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and later joined ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). Weil traveled to Liverpool, Haiti, Bangkok, Santo Domingo, Zimbabwe, and South Africa to research and document responses to the AIDS pandemic, as well as to aid in the establishment of community-based AIDS organizations. In the 1990s Weil helped found the first needle exchange program in New York City, and worked with a group that became the New York Harm Reduction Educators to study the spread of AIDS and develop needle exchange programs. His series The AIDS Photographs were the photographic product of his work during the HIV epidemic, as was his book Every 17 Seconds: A Global Perspective on the AIDS Crisis.
Weil also worked on a multi-channel video documentary of the gender transition of Susan, a transgender U.S. Army Special Ops veteran, a project that spanned three years and was left unfinished. The photographic process employed by Weil involved re-photographing frames from Super-8 film strips, manipulating the negatives by scratching, dodging, and burning them in the darkroom, and enlarging images to exaggerate their graininess. These techniques were used alongside descriptive titles and text to combat the reduction of his subjects to a spectacle. Weil died in 1996 at the age of 41.
60 Linear Feet
Metadata Rights Declarations
- License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.
The Brian Weil archive, 1970-1996, contains materials made or collected by photographer Brian Weil (1954-1996) which document his career. Included in the collection are exhibition labels, transparencies, and photographic prints from the exhibition, "Brian Weil: The AIDS Photographs."
The Collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Papers, undated, 1980-1996, 10 boxes
Series 2: Audiovisual Materials, undated, 1991-1994, 8 boxes
Series 3: Photographic Materials, undated, 1970-1989, 29 boxes
- Subseries 1: Contact sheets, undated, 1987, 3 boxes
- Subseries 2: Negatives, undated, 1973-1989, 5 boxes
- Subseries 3: Photographic prints, undated, 1970-1987, 19 boxes
- Subseries 4: Slides, undated, 3 boxes
- Subseries 5: Transparencies, undated, 2 boxes
Immediate Source of Acquisition
CCP received the collection in 1999.
Brian Weil, 1979-1995: Being in the World.Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, www.theicala.org/en/exhibitions/10-brian-weil-1979-1995-br-being-in-the-world. Accessed 16 June 2020.
- Gregory, Stamatina.
Shooting Up in the Museum: Intravenous Drug Use in Brian Weil’s The AIDS Photographs.What You Don’t Know About AIDS Could Fill A Museum, Edited by Theodore (ted) Kerr, Issue 42, OnCurating.org, September 2019, pg. 140-150, www.on-curating.org/issue-42-reader/shooting-up-in-the-museum-intravenous-drug-use-in-brian-weils-the-aids-photographs.html#.XukMikVKhPZ. Accessed 16 June 2020.
- Knight, Christopher.
Review: Artist Brian Weil’s work focuses on a ‘World’ few ever see.Los Angeles Times, 04 February 2015, www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-brian-weil-world-review-20150205-column.html. Accessed 16 June 2020.
- Smith, Roberta.
Brian Weil, 41, Photographer Who Founded Needle Exchange.The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 08 February 1996, Section B, page 13, www.nytimes.com/1996/02/08/nyregion/brian-weil-41-photographer-who-founded-needle-exchange.html. Accessed 16 June 2020.
Finding aid updated by Madison Reynolds in 2014, by Alexis Peregoy in 2018, and by Tai Huesgen in 2020.
- AIDS (Disease) and the arts Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Bondage (Sexual behavior) in art Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gender identity Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gender transition Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Hasidim Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Homicide investigation Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Protest movements -- United States Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Protest movements in mass media Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Sex workers Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Brian Weil collection 1970-1996
- Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
- © 2020
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid encoded in English