Go Deep Into The Woods by Jennifer Ray
Using information gleaned from online communities, I locate and photograph places in public parks where men meet to have sex. The traces of these sexual encounters reveal dual needs for connection and anonymity and a tension between public and private. By occasionally manipulating the objects that I find and adding artificial lighting, I suggest narratives, reveal hidden juxtapositions, and become somehow complicit in the deviant acts. Though my photographs focus on on subculture, the images metaphorically suggest the complicated interplay between taboo, secrecy, tenderness, voyeurism, and fantasy common to the broad spectrum of human sexuality.
At the intersection of wilderness and cultivation, these parks bring to mind both the primal quality of sexual desire and the mythologized ideal of Edenic nature. I refute simplified ideas of perfect nature, instead depicting it as complicit in the conflict between chaos and order, pleasure and morality, and instinct and rationality. Through this framework, I highlight the discrepancies between the ideal and the real and seek to redefine what we consider natural.
Jennifer Ray lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
To view more of Jennifer's work, please visit her website.