Friday, February 14, 2014

Two Interesting Projects

My son sent me a link to a project on the CNN Photos blog today. "The Waiting Game" is a documentary piece about prostitutes in Spain who work along highways. The photographer, Txema Salvans worked primarily on the Mediterranean coast photographing women waiting for johns to stop and pay them for sex. The pictures are simultaneously provocative and banal. There is nothing particularly sexual about what is shown, but there is still an air of anticipation as we see these women, sometimes wearing fairly revealing clothing, attempting to entice passing motorists to make a (presumably) short detour as they travel. The pictures are landscapes with the prostitutes appearing relatively small in the frame. Everything is sun drenched, parched, and a little faded looking, running counter to other images of hookers we may have seen at night in "red light" districts. Their postures make many of the women looked bored and tired, even though we can never really see their faces. It's excellent work.

It made me think about another project about sex in public places called "Cruising" by Chad States. States' work is more explicit and shows men cruising for and sometimes having sex with each other in public parks and highway rest stops. Like Alvans, the pictures are always shot on sunny days and superficially appear to be landscapes. Only when we look closely do we see men, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs, engaged in having or waiting for sex. Because of the heavy vegetation, the pictures aren't explicit. They suggest the activities rather than describe them. They are, however, more active than Slavans and, as a result, are kind of creepy, at least to me. They, too, are excellent work.

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