“Cruising” has always been a part of gay culture; the word itself is a code, innocuous to outsiders, but representing an incognito hunt for sexual partners to those in the know. Over the years, men with particular desires found spaces—certain parks, public restrooms, and roadside wooded groves—out of sight and yet in plain view, where they could meet, and with the use of silent signals and cues, pair off for intimate encounters. It is these spots, nationwide, and the men making use of them, that Chad States photographs in Cruising.
With an oblique focus on hidden clearings, forest-lined parking lots, and the welltrodden paths where these encounters occur, States gradually began to include the men far off in the distance within his lush, dense landscapes. These are the beautiful and surreal spaces where forbidden fantasies come to life. From the Pacific Northwest back east to Pennsylvania and New York, States obscures his subjects in the foliage of the woods and blends the various locations into one sensuous visual representation of this necessary, yet transgressive act. Cruising exposes this time-honored, gay tradition, dragging it out of the woods and into the light of the public eye.