Photographs of the façade of sites where male encounters take place in London. The heavyweight paper on which the image is printed has a strong mottled texture. Upon closer inspection of the image, graphic details begin to emerge against the grey background. The raised surface texture accentuates the physicality of the surface of the paper.

Detail of photograph 'G(r)ay Area #8'. This is a partial reproduction of the image for the purpose of illustration on this webpage, at higher magnification.
Photographing doorways of sex shops in London led me to expand my area of focus and consider ‘the façade’ of sites of encounter; social sites where sexual encounters take place such as gay bathhouses and sex clubs. In light of the Greek etymology of the term obscene and its link to what was performed behind closed curtains, I considered the relation between the façade or surface and what lies behind.

I consider the experience of photographing the grey façade of a specific bathhouse and explore the meanings associated with the colour grey in relation to photography. I consider the façade and compare it to the idea of surface, a key aspect of photography. I turn to Deleuze’s conceptualisation of the surface as a transcendental field and articulate the recognition of the materiality of the photograph and the image represented on it. The surface of the photographic paper becomes a crucial aspect of this discussion. I consider the idea of haptic visuality and the identification of the eye as an organ of touch, an organ that takes pleasure in scanning the surface of the image.

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