Male prostitution is, from a photographic point of view, a very tempting but dangerous subject. The visual pitfalls are numerous. Of course it is tempting to photograph good-looking, nude boys on a bed, who do not want to be recognised and therefore have turned away their heads. Pictured that way we confirm the image that exists of male prostitution, namely bodies without identity or personality which can be used. These images can of course radiate a certain atmosphere which is important to show, but it is yet a mere part of a greater whole. For it is not always as pleasant as on the picture shown. Unfortunately we then tend to seek the other extremity and make pictures of wasted boy prostitutes on the Central Station.
To get the prevailing image of male prostitution out of the grubby, criminal atmosphere, I had to use another visual language. Therefore no dark alleys and blurred images, but a more intimate, respectful approach. It took some time and lots of coffee to show that my intentions were not to portray them in a sensational fashion, but to show them and the place they worked as honest as possible.
I made this project between 1998 – 2000 and the clubs are almost all gone. Internet has taken over and many hustlers are now working online.
© Rob Philip, 2006
Text: Paul van Gelder & Rob Philip
Design: Ineke Teeninga
Print: Ando, The Hague
The book is featured in ‘The Photobook: A History Volume III‘ by Martin Parr & Gerry Badger