In Desire Tabulations, I am exploring the relationship between men and safe sex. At first impulse it seems that there would be an obvious outcome. Actually, it becomes a very complex question.
By photographing men and presenting them in a formal but intimate portrait and then asking them questions about their sexual practice over the past year, I am attempting to see if the outer appearance conflicts with our assumptions of their desire and/or sexual need. In what ways do men consider their desire?
The project turns from a tabulation of desire to more of a study on perception. Before every portrait session I made my own personal prediction of what I thought the man’s answers would be and in every case I was wrong. Some men didn’t use condoms because they have been in a long-term relationship and the partner takes care of contraception in other ways. For others, it is because they are not having sex right now or they don’t have sex in the typical way. All of these examples result in the same number but for different reasons. Some men were in committed relationships and having a lot of sex but didn’t want to get their partners/spouses pregnant or they just had a baby and were avoiding pregnancy so condoms became essential.
These men where just a sampling of men and in each case their story is different. We as the outsider make assumptions about men and their sexual practices based on appearance and potentially age when in fact every situation is completely unique and the consideration for condoms more complex then expected.
The life size portraits presented in a formal but elegant way was inspired by the royal and French style of the condom packaging. Each portrait exposes the physique of the man as in renaissance paintings of dukes, princes, kings and royalty. Their partnered shelf and condoms displayed as an artifact they possessed.
Tara Bogart is an artist residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teenager she began ‘working’ in her Mother’s darkroom and has nurtured a lifelong exploration of questions using photography. Bogart’s work has been exhibited nationally and she received her first solo exhibition in New York & Milwaukee in 2013. She has been published internationally both online and in print. She has been featured in such publications as The British Journal of Photography, The New Yorker, Lenscratch, Chaos and LensCulture. Bogart was recently featured on CNN Photos Blog and the Russian international online publication Wonderzine.She received the Mary Nohl Suitcase fund in 2014 to travel to Virginia where she was in a group exhibition at The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech with such luminaries at Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Chuck Close, Tony Oursler and Jim Dine. Bogart is represented by Elizabeth Houston Projects in New York.
To learn more about Tara Bogart’s work visit her website: www.tarabogart.com