Photographer Snaps Photos of Loved Ones Right After He Tells Them He Has HIV

In his latest project, “I Have Something to Tell You,” Florida photographer Adrain Chesser snapped photos of his family and friends just moments after he told them he was HIV-positive. The collection portrays an array of emotions, from shock to befuddlement to just plain pity. But the process, Chesser told the Huffington Post, helped him conquer the fear of opening up to his loved ones:

“When I thought about having to disclose my illness to my friends I would panic, which didn’t make sense, because I have an amazing group of friends who are all very loving and supportive. … I realized that these intense emotions where actually based in my childhood fear of abandonment. Growing up gay in a small town in a very religious family, the fear of being found out and cast out was always present and right under the surface. It occurred to me that if I ritualized the act of telling, that it might be possible to transform these childhood fears that were still effecting me as an adult.”

The different reactions are fascinating, if not a little puzzling at times (flip to the last photo in the gallery below), offering a neat look into the ways we handle weighty news. You can check out some of them in the slideshow below. To learn more and to see all 46 images, visit Chesser’s website here.