I DON'T NEED TO KNOW YOU
Katia Repina, Luca Aimi
When something is hidden, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It may just be that there’s a good reason for it to remain concealed. The series ‘I Don’t Need to Know You’ is a collaboration between Russian photographer Katia Repina (b. 1988) and Italian photographer Luca Aimi (b. 1980) exploring the practice of cruising, the act of looking for spontaneous sexual encounters in public spaces such as parks. Anonymity, adventure, and the possibility of expressing one’s sexuality in a particular way, are some of the things that attract people to cruising. Repina and Aimi caught a few glimpses of men hidden among the leaves, taking care not to reveal their subjects’ identities as they seek satisfaction in their pursuit of sex.
Cruising seems directly connected with the fact that the gay community has been marginalised or even criminalised for years, and so its members had to find ways and places to meet that would be safe from indiscreet gazes. However, nowadays, we are living in a time in which online dating has become mainstream, we have access to safe-sex education, and same-sex relationships are gaining the rights they have been striving for. Still, cruising exists and maintains a reputation of being shady and unsavoury, an imagery partly endorsed by the images presented in the series, that only allude and don’t reveal. The presence of nature and of the green colour diminishes this sense of sordidness, and we see unrecognisable men roaming through what looks like a forest, observed almost in a naturalistic way.