Pastime (2021-2024) 

A few years ago, I began photographing encounters with different gay men in their private spaces, seeking intense sensations that, when seemingly within reach, felt unattainable. This led me to create a narrative of autofiction. Starting from a self-portrait in a shady hotel room, I created a photographic collection that aimed to be the culmination of all those encounters. Through the images, I include situations already experienced, recreate memories, or draw new scenarios.

Inspired by Lauren Berlant's theory of flat affect, "Pastime" explores the pursuit of overwhelming emotions as an ideal, contrasted with a resignation to the familiar. "Pastime" delves into the boring, the absurd, the sordid, and the inert, intersecting with small flashes of vitality and attachment. It advocates for questioning how much time we spend in silence, bored, versus how much time we live intensely. The project concludes when the photographer returns to his hometown, now strangely unfamiliar. This return reflects the protagonist's transformation and his interaction with an environment that no longer feels familiar, yet still manages to surprise him.

(see Pastime II for ending).

A hotel room that can’t be photographed (that you have no desire to photograph) is already a bad room. Upon arriving in a city, the first thing to do is to take a picture of the room, as if to stake out a territory, and photograph your reflection in the mirror, as if to mark your temporary belonging, as if to attenuate the cost, as a testimony of your presence. Or you can occupy the room immediately by making love in it.

Hervé Guibert, Ghost Image

I’m tired of the street, but no, I’m not tired of it – the street is all of life. There’s the tavern opposite, which I can see if I look over my right shoulder, and there are the piled-up crates, which I can see by looking over my left shoulder; and in the middle, which I can only see if I turn around completely, there’s the steady sound of the shoemaker’s hammer, at the entrance to the offices of the Africa Company. I don’t know what’s on the upper floors. On the third floor there’s a cheap hotel which is said to be immoral, but so it is with everything, life.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

© Carles Hidalgo, 2024