School of Art

This summer David Baboila digitized, catalogued, and archived over 8,000 photographs from gay men in Tucson, thanks to support from the College of Fine Arts Medici Circle donors.

David is an MFA candidate in the School of Art in Photography | Video | Imaging. He acquired two collections of slide photographs that belonged to queer men who passed away in 2019. He spent two years reviewing these archives, trying to understand the lives of the men depicted.

The financial support provided through the Medici Award was used to purchase the necessary equipment to digitally store and maintain these archives, allowing David to finally digitize them.

>> Learn more about the Medici Circle program.

David Baboila working on digitalizing images.

“Being able to finally take the time to digitize and preserve these lost images was the bright spot of this entire summer! My work has helped to preserve the stories of these men and has created space for others to share their stories. My sincere gratitude goes out to Shirley Chann, the generous donor who made this project possible, and to all of the donors from the Medici Scholars program who helped students realize their projects and ambitions this summer.”

David built a robust system of keywords organizing these collections, allowing him to sort and search specific images by year, location, themes and more.

Medici Mondays: David Baboila

“Now that the images are stored and organized digitally, different patterns have emerged, and I have been able to draw further parallels between the lives of these men and my own experiences. I have begun to respond to these images through my own history, using these images in union with performance and installation to explore the ways masculinity, desire, and queerness are reflected by this archive on to the contemporary era.”

Thanks to donations made by the generous Medici Circle members, talented, artist scholars like David are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.

David Baboila looks at slides

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