New Intimacies is a photographic study situated in environments known for gay cruising and public sex. The work in this project is centered around the relationships that take place in these settings as well as the social and cultural elements that have resulted in the formation of these sites as spaces of safe harbor and uninhibited behavior. It is here, at the convergence between public and private intimacy, that I am inspired to use photography to envision the intangible and ephemeral qualities of these geographic spaces. Through this research and production, I seek to create visual representations of cruising culture that examine the development of these fleeting terrains of desire and liberation.
Louis Chavez (b. 1985) is a visual artist and graduate student in the Photography and Related Media MFA program at Rochester Institute of Technology. Chavez uses photography to explore queer intimacy, social histories, and geographies of desire. Their solo exhibition, New Intimacies, was exhibited at University of Rochester’s Hartnett Gallery in 2021. They were a recent participant in SOILED: The Downtown Dirty Book Fair, curated by Matthew Leifheit in New York’s Lower East Side, and will be a graduate presenter at the Society for Photographic Education’s national conference in 2023. In addition to their visual arts practice, Chavez guest curated Media Underground: Naked Eye Cinema at Visual Studies Workshop in 2020 and worked as an assistant to photojournalist Joshua Rashaad McFadden in 2021.