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Sudden changes, but slowly

Matthew Pillsbury ’95 "met Nathan Noland, fell in love, came out as a gay man, and subsequently left his wife" in 2004, Slate's photography blog says.

It sounds so sudden: events pile up, boom boom boom, and a life is forever different. But in real life, change plays out gradually even when it begins abruptly.

And in Pillsbury's new show “Nate and Me,” which opened this week at the Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City, art imitates life.

The pictures in "Nate and Me" are selected from Pillsbury's project "Screen Lives," begun more than a decade ago, in which he used long-exposure photography to document people spending time with and by their TV, computer, and cell phone screens.

"The exposures range from about a half hour to three hours, and the dominant light sources are the screens themselves," Anthony Weiss ’02 wrote about "Screen Lives" in the Yale Alumni Magazine in 2005.

"As people move during the course of the long exposure, their figures become blurred and faint. In the photographs, they seem to be visiting specters, insubstantial beings flitting through a solid world, while the radiant screens glow white hot."

Magnifiying the ghostliness of "Nate and Me," Pillsbury and Noland are no longer a couple. But "making these pictures was a way of establishing his role in my life," Pillsbury tells Slate.

Reflecting on his coming out and on how society accords more legitimacy to same-sex relationships now than a decade ago, he adds: "I wanted to make it permanent and assert to myself, if no one else, that this mattered and that I was no longer ashamed.”


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under photography, Matthew Pillsbury
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