Tony PatrioliTitle Unknown (19XX)

It’s not the first thing I notice so much as the fourth or fifth, but this photo was almost without a doubt taken in the same area where act one of Antonioni’s beautifully shot L’Avventura unfolds.

I say “not the first thing” because I have all kinds of complicated feels about this and I am not entirely sure how to convey them. (That’s not entirely true… it’s more I can’t seem to work up the courage to put it all into words would could potentially be turned against me.)

Part of these feelings relate to my suspicion this was likely made in the mid-70s when Patrioli was fixated with shooting single, hetero, cis-boys who weren’t opposed to playing along with the photographer’s homoerotic vision.

It’s a sloppy conceit–and I say that as someone convinced that it’s just barely on the grey side of immoral to ask someone to enact something in front of a camera that they wouldn’t also willing ask of you were the roles reversed; but the resulting trilateral tension is fascinating: the homosexual photographer having straight boys play at being gay, the straight boys who aren’t DTF but who don’t mind going along for the ride and the audience who subsequently  can’t take either party quite at their word.

The premo genderfuckery appeals to me. I mean really, really, really, really, really (that’s five really’s) appeals to me. But there’s also the likely unintended side-effect of decoupling physical arousal from sexual ideation. That’s the part I don’t know how to talk about…

I’m mostly opposed to the metaphor wherein sexuality is equated with hunger–that path skirts a little too close to notions of privation and entitlement. But I am willing to go so far as to say that there is at least a correlation insofar as if I say that I’m hungry, I’m asking not because I expect the person with whom I am conferring to feed me or even that their hungry. It’s because I’m fucking hungry and I need to do something about that shit, pronto and I know that I’m not the only one who is capable of experiencing hunger.

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