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Greg Reynolds: Jesus Days

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Greg Reynolds: Jesus Days

In his succinct recent photobook, a real treasure on our list, Greg Reynolds writes, "A while back, I found dusty boxes of kodachromes stored in my parent’s house. I had not looked at the pictures in over 25 years, mainly because it was from a time I wanted to forget: my Jesus Days.
During my twenties, I was a youth minister for an evangelical Christian organization that had member chapters at secular colleges and universities across the U.S. It was my job to encourage young Christians in their faith. I listened to their problems, led Bible studies and prayer meetings, engaged in missions overseas and even took Jesus to the sunny beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during Spring Break. 
As a boy, I had grown up in a Southern Baptist family in Kentucky. This born-again Christian world was as normal to me as bacon and eggs for breakfast. A missionary gave me a 35 mm camera in 1978 and I started to take pictures. They were not meant to be seen by anyone other than my friends and family. I photographed out of curiosity and the desire to capture a moment. Without my knowing it at the time, I realize that these pictures were my first artistic body of work. Looking at the images today, I see all my longing and wishes expressed, things I could not say in words. 
To others, I appeared the model Christian, an evangelical poster boy. I prayed and read my bible, went to church and refrained from sex. But all through these days, I had a secret that I could not admit to others nor to myself. I loved but was not in love with the girl whom I thought I should marry and I was in love with my best friend with whom I never would have a relationship. I feared that if my secret was exposed, I would lose my family, my friends and my position. It would be the end of myself as I knew myself. 
Compelled by my conflict of faith and homosexuality, I pursued counsel. A year and a half later, I broke up with my girlfriend, resigned from the Christian organization and came out as a gay man. During the summer of 1983, I moved to New York City where I entered Columbia University’s Film School.
I became a photographer.

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