What is the Bristlecone project?

The Bristlecone Project is an initiative of our partner 1in6.org.

The Vision: A mosaic of photographs and words that portray the reality of men who were sexually abused as children.

The Focus: The present, not the past. Who each man is. What defines him. What is the focus of his life. Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice.

The Purpose: To portray this reality — who we are now, living meaningful and dignified lives — to the many men who feel isolated and stigmatized by what happened to them. And to portray this reality to whole communities through the Bristlecone web site and public exhibitions.

Why Bristlecone

Bristlecone Pine trees survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of the western Rocky Mountains. Despite thin soils, strong winds, freezing temperatures, and limited water, Bristlecones can live for thousands of years, and are among the oldest living organisms on earth.


If wind were wood it might resemble this fragility and strength, old bark bleeding amber. Its living parts grow on away from the dead as we do in our lesser lives. Endurance, yes, but also a scarred and twisted beauty we know the way we know our own carved hearts.

©2013 by David Mason

Participation: Step by step

Step 1. Come to a decision about whether participating would be right for you. Take your time. Reflect on it. Talk it over. Please feel free to contact David Lisak with any and all questions at: [email protected]

Step 2. You and I decide, after reflection and discussion, that it’s a good match. At this point you will be asked to read and sign a “consent and release” form to allow your portrait and other information you provide to be used on the project web site and other public exhibitions.

Important: Participants can, at any time, choose to withdraw consent and have their portrait and biographical narrative removed from the Bristlecone exhibition.

Step 3. We meet in person, at a place you are comfortable, for a biographical interview of approximately one hour, followed by the portrait photography session. In addition to the individual portrait, if everyone is agreeable, photographs of significant others (family, partner, friends) or of you in other venues (work place, etc.) may be taken.

Step 4. As numbers increase, the web-based Bristlecone exhibition will be accompanied by local exhibitions in public venues featuring men from those communities — “Bristlecone Los Angeles,” “Bristlecone Boston,” “Bristlecone New Mexico,” etc.

Again, please feel free to contact David with any and all questions at [email protected]

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