The last review was no less thought provoking than the previous. It was picked up upon that there must be a distinct intimacy between myself and my subjects in order for me to capture the shots I have amassed so far.
This is something I am well aware of. It helps that my studio is a cosy little space so there is automatically a physical closeness, but I always try to ensure a bond is struck-up within the first crucial 10-15 minutes of a shoot; this enables the subject to feel relaxed, comfortable and confident so there is no awkwardness and it becomes much more of a collaboration.
It was questioned whether this whole project is subject to a specific generation; all of my subjects to date are over 50 years old. The perception is that sexuality is a far more fluid thing to the younger generation and there is far less stigma in being non-heterosexual. As the project progresses I shall consider this as the two younger men who have approached me so far are no less wary of their secret than the more mature men.
There is the obvious Elephant In The Room of whether the wives are aware of what these men do when they claim to be doing something else – is it a case of ignorance is bliss or is the secret truly buried in concrete. Indeed how would the wives feel if truth were told? Would they, could they be understanding as, after all, these men are not seeking something they can actually supply within the marital home – there are no emotions exchanged, but merely a physical need that has to be fulfilled; it’s not for nothing that these occurrences are often referred to as a drug or a ‘high’.
Returning to the mention of collaboration – these photoshoots could not occur without an exchange between myself and subject, I am enabling and complicit; acknowledging this side to their personalities which is an empowering factor. Ordinarily there is merely a physicality to their encounters whereas in the safe space of my studio I am an understanding ear.
They are extremely brave and trusting in allowing me to explore their lives, bodies and desires in such intimate detail.