In 2017 I went on a trip for 3 months across 11 cities in Europe. I was living in Dubai back then, I did not feel fulfilled in my life and I had a deep recurring feeling that I need to change my current reality. I had set only two rules for myself to follow: I do not stay in a city longer than I planned if I meet a guy I like, and I do not go back to a city I liked more if I did not like the city I am in.
Few weeks into my trip, I started feeling exhausted about having to adjust to a new city every few days, having to figure out how to get around and how to meet people. I was using a dating app during my trip and writing hosts on couchsurfing to stay with them instead of staying in hostels. I started taking photos of some of the guys I met as I have the habit of taking photos of almost every person I meet. Gradually the rest of my trip became inseparable from taking portraits of men in their houses- mainly men I was romantically drawn towards- within 24 hours of meeting them. What was most exciting and challenging was me engaging with the unknown. Krishnamurti says - “If you would look at an object, any thought about that object prevents you from looking at it. If you look at your wife or husband, all the memories that you have had, either of pleasure or pain, interfere with looking. It is only when you look without the image that there is a relationship”- I had no associations with these men before meeting them and there I am after a brief text conversation or a brief meetup I am in their homes making both myself and them vulnerable through a unique photographer/sitter relationship that has longing to intimacy the main desire beneath its surface. As I am walking towards their home, I wondered what their world is like. The question springing from my most secret inner self, - what if this is the guy I am meant to choose to be with?- This question was in a constant conflict with, - what if this trip is teaching me to enjoy things how they are without attachment and to have the ability to let go?- We often wait for “the one” to appear in our life, I believe that we decide at a certain moment in our life for a person to be that one.
These men find themselves almost anonymous, melting in their natural habitat, seeking for a possibility to escape, be accepted for who they are or to be acknowledged. The opportunity might have arose when I showed up into their life to record a moment of existence. The viewer is left to wonder at what moment of these mens’ lives did I appear. I shared my part of the story, but what is theirs?
I add with the photos various texts from readings during my trip, actual text messages with the men in the photos and quotes I was coming across.