Spearmint, 2009-10

Silver gelatin print. 20 x 20 inches, edition of 3.

For the invited artist series of the 2010 Seattle Erotic Art Festival.

As with the most of the other works in my ongoing series of self-portraits, this photo was taken immediately after finding solace in the mirror of my bathroom and seeing (or perhaps sensing) that all was as it should be. Knowing these moments are not mine alone, I hope to capture some semblance of them to share my experience. I hold on to the feeling as I prepare – camera, film, tripod, shutter-release cable – and continue to ponder the chain of thoughts which brought me there. In this particular instance, it was the sting of the mouthwash I had originally hoped to capture. However, as I continued through the roll, spitting and pouring anew with each advanced exposure, the pain left my mouth. Dulled there, I soon found a lingering burn in my eyes. In this final shot on the roll, I continued to pour an excess of the stringent fluid, allowed it to trickle past my jaw and onto my chest. Only then, as both the burn and relief reached different parts of my skin, did I come back to that place, where was I fully reminded that everything was ok.

This sort of moment might not immediately strike many as being erotic- but upon close inspection, the process parallels many aspects of a sexual encounter with oneself–an intriguing moment puts in motion an instinctual series of events; sometimes frustrating, other times emotional, always aiming for climax. (Hell, even afterwards there’s the cleanup and occasional remorse.) Sharing this moment can be voyeuristic, even if it is only a representation of a moment.

Special thanks to Erin for her exceptional darkroom skills on the print.

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