Cristian Turning Back to Me (Seattle, WA)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Within my art practice, I  have been exploring my queerness through image-making as a means to honor my younger self who felt they couldn't be their true self. I began to consider the aspects of the male body I find attractive and even further considered what resonates with me most about romantic intimacy with someone. I am drawn to the ephemeral qualities of the male form particularly during these moments of quick immediate intimacy or short-term romances. I remember the smallest, most intimate details, such as the way a lover arches their torso, the way they rest their legs against mine as we lay in bed, the moment they roll over after a night together, or the way they look at me as we share our mutual desire for one another. When I think about the people whom I have been with in this way I tend to remember them in the moments right before we kiss or the moments of decompression before we part ways. They live in a space that is this ideal romance for me regardless of how long this romance may have lasted.


I Think We Could've Been Something is a culmination of ephemeral moments of queer intimacy created through short-term romances. The work considers hookup culture within the LGBTQ+ community with a specific focus on the queer man experience. In our modern reality, the act of meeting men through queer-dating apps such as Grindr has become the norm for most queer identifying folks. Meetings from these apps can go in various directions, from a one-time hook up to leading into a long-term romantic relationship. I began using Grindr as a tool to seek out possible photo subjects. The app was particularly a great source for connecting with men when I traveled outside of Madison to more populated queer hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle, however, I did not restrict myself to solely using Grindr to find subjects as I invited male identifying individuals whom I've met through various means (i.e. mutual friends, bars, etc.) to be photographed in these intimate scenes. This act of image-making, which for a few of my participants was the first time we met in real life, becomes a form of creating intimacy with another person that I equate to a romantic or physical relationship that is often created through dating apps.


My photographic process involves capturing portraits within a domestic space where myself and my subject construct different fantasies that are intended to allow the viewer to place themselves in the work, such as the hand being held is their own or the subject is reaching out to the viewer welcoming them into the moment. Much like these quick moments of intimacy I often take quick photographs of the smallest moments that occur while myself and my subject are conversing getting to know each other. I try not to direct in abundance as I want them to be the most natural that they can be in the moment. Any direction that I give is subtle and usually involves me either having them make the slightest adjustments or me giving them a scenario to think about such as me asking them to pretend we woke up next to each other. I view this work as a collaboration between myself and my subject. We’re working off each other to create these images as I find that this back and forth allows the work to feel the most authentic.


All the work in this project began as a digital photograph before I brought these images into the darkroom and printed them as silver gelatin lumen prints. This alternative photographic process involves taking traditional black and white silver gelatin paper and exposing it to UV light allowing the paper to fog. With that this process allows me to further queer the photograph by producing pink colors on the print’s surface. This color serves several different facets within the work itself. Through this color palette the prints mimic the body when blood rushes to your head when you are with someone intimately, furthermore it places these constructed fantasies in front of a rose-tinted lens further idealizing these short-term romances that "could've been something.”

The Way He Lays On the Bed (Erik, Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Cristian in Profile (Seattle, WA)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Erik Gazing Back at Me (Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Payton Waking Up Next to Me (San Francisco, CA)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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The Way the Light Touches His Neck (Cristian, Seattle, WA)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Erik Resting (Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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The Way He Arches His Back (Erik, Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Sam Reaching Out to Me (Madison, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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The Way I Touch His Leg (Erik, Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Kailen Looking Back at Me (Madison, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Erik in Profile (Milwaukee, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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The Way He Rolls Over in Bed (Kodi, Madison, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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Kailen Looking Across From Me (Madison, WI)

Silver Gelatin Lumen Print

2023

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