/07 Trees

Jennifer Ray

Go Deep Into the Woods

Using information gleaned from online communities, I locate and photograph sites in public parks where men meet for furtive sexual encounters. In these lush, sometimes Edenic settings, the overgrowth blurs distinctions between what we consider public and private realms, and nature becomes a complicit part of this taboo sexual activity. Being a woman, I am an outsider to this subculture, and I approach the subject via the traces left behind. As a result, I encourage the viewer to engage imaginatively by filling in the gaps of my partial narratives. These images metaphorically suggest the complicated interplay between danger, secrecy, tenderness, voyeurism, and fantasy common to the broad spectrum of sexuality. In place of the idealized tameness typically associated with parks, I photograph nature as complex, beautiful, and strange, mirroring the activity that takes place there.