Intimate Strangers is a series of photographs about momentary intimacy between anonymous men. The classic portrait encounter between artist and subject is modified to incorporate the protocol of internet sex hookups. After meeting online, one man arrives at the other’s place, but the usual outcome of anonymous sex is suspended, replaced instead by a shared contemplative act: the photographing of one by the other in an atmosphere of heightened vulnerability. A photographic portrait session occurs, portraying the disrobed subject in a moment that is both foreign and familiar, the photographer and subject brought together by a shared bond: their sexuality, and a desire to explore it through a creative act.
The resulting images eschew the usual tropes of still photography about gay male sexuality; the explicit, frontal, trophy nudity of that genre is replaced by a cinematic and atmospheric approach that uses real locations and low light to create a mood that is nuanced and ambiguous, melancholic yet seductive, tense but intimate.
Hugo Fernandes was born in New York in 1985 and received his BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC in 2007.
Hugo’s photographs are a journey through his life, depicting his unique experiences with two very different groups of people: those he knows intimately and those whom he has just met online. Inspired by his feelings of never fitting in, his photographs reflect on and aim to capture moments of impact through private portraits of himself or others. The resulting images are reclusive and personal, yet cinematic and seductive.
Hugo’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at organizations such as Humble Arts, Aperture, GLAAD, Camera Club of New York, Visual Arts Gallery and Galleria San Ludovico. His work was recently acquired for inclusion in the permanent collections at Emory University’s MARBL library and at The Kinsey Institute. Hugo currently resides and works in NYC.
Artist’s Website: hugofernandes.com