Mark I Chester studio

I am excited to announce that I have received a $5000 grant from the Cumulus Fund as seed money to host a major retrospective exhibition of my photographs at the Center for Sex and Culture (CSC) in September 2015 to be called City of Wounded Boys & Sexual Warriors.

City of Wounded Boys & Sexual Warriors, 1982

Along with the exhibition, I plan to self publish a companion book of my photographs because of the important history that they tell about the gay, leather and sexual underground communities in San Francisco over nearly the last 4 decades.

But, I need your help.  Additional donations are needed to complete this project.  Please consider making a donation.  No donation is too small.  Because the Center for Sex and Culture is a 501c3 non-profit, all donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be made at:  

Kai tying his boots, 1990

Funds will also be raised through the pre-sale of books and a special fundraising performance event at CSC on Sat. February 14th (Valentines Day) 2015 called (Bitter) Sweet Sex.

Leathermen Ballroom Dancing, 2012

some additional information

Mark I Chester is a uniquely San Francisco artist.  He has created a dark explicit photographic diary that documents his life in San Francisco’s sexual underground since the late 1970s.  His photographs capture these emotionally explosive and politically tumultuous times through personal portraiture that crosses the normally exclusive photographic genres of fine art portraiture, sexually explicit work and social documentary photographs. It is an unparalleled record of this particular time in San Francisco for both the number of years that it covers and its in-depth revelations about those times and those people.  Mark’s photographs can be found on his website at

CSC’s Executive Director and co-founder Carol Queen, PhD notes, “I cannot emphasize enough how important Mark’s work is to San Francisco and its sex-related communities, as it is to sexuality studies and artistic representation as a whole. Preserving it properly and disseminating it via a book and gallery showing very much needs to happen. We are proud to participate in this significant retrospective of his fine art photography, which has such great importance culturally, sexologically, and in the context of the changing San Francisco queer and sex communities, particularly the men’s community which has been so impacted by HIV/AIDS. As we learned last winter during our exhibit of 1980s-1990s safer sex posters, many young people, even among communities that were greatly impacted by HIV/AIDS, do not know the history of the epidemic, of queer community growth, of LGBT rights struggles, and other elements of alternative history that are not well-covered in school or by the mainstream culture. Mark’s work is by no means only historically significant documentation – but that is certainly one element of its importance.”  

CSC will host a retrospective of Mark's photographs during the month of September 2015. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the artist’s 65th birthday and the San Francisco leather community's annual celebration, the Folsom St. Fair. In addition to the exhibition, events will include a very special slide show talk on his work by Mark.