Orlando shooting inspires Houston photographer to create 'Pride Portraits'

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando this past June, photographer Eric Schell "was at a loss for words, feelings and an understanding as to why we as a [LGBTQ] community are sometimes treated like non-humans." In response, Schell created a project titled "P.R.I.D.E. Portraits: Photographs Representing Individuals Deserving Equality".

Living and working in Houston, Texas, Schell began his project after working on a video shoot about the Orland mass shooting.

"I started looking at the photographs I had shot that day, and realized what a wonderful collection I had captured of our southern Houston community of LGBTQ+" Schell said.

The project quickly grew to over 300 individuals from the Houston community, inspiring Schell to set a goal to photograph 10,000 people around the U.S. Schell explains that "the mission for this project is simple. People will see these photographs, read these stories and say to themselves 'that person is relatable to me' and prompt them to educate themselves about our community."

Schell's portrait of Lou Weaver was featured on the cover of GLAAD’s resource, "Southern Stories: A Guide for Reporting on LGBT People in Texas."

Schell has recently partnered with local artist Hugo Perez, who painted a one of a kind canvas, inspired by the LGBTQ community, which will serve as the backdrop to Schell's photos.

Together, Schell and Perez are turning the photo-campaign into a nonprofit. In Houston, they have already donated to AIDS Foundation Houston, and The Montrose Center, with plans to continue this charity and advocacy in each city that they visit.

Schell's next photoshoot destination is Eugene, Oregon, where he is partnering with Aydian Dowling and Point 5CC, a trans clothing company, on September 23rd.

Click here for more information, and to view all of Schell's portrait series.