Cruising in the USA

Interview by
Frank Rodriguez
Photography by
Chad States


36-year-old photographer Chad States from Philadelphia captures spontaneous homosexual encounters in cruisy public parks. He also works as a college professor by day and moonlights (in just a jockstrap sometimes) as a bartender on the weekends in Rehoboth, Delaware where he and his hunky husband Dru keep a second place. I interrupted Chad and Dru’s "date night" — just as their pot brownies started to kick in — to chat about how he goes about getting those cruising photos.

Frank: Do you and Dru have assigned roles in your relationship?
Chad: Yes. I am the wife in that stereotypical way. I cook, clean… I’m not that good at it, but he’s worse.
What does he contribute?
He fucks me. He does the construction, and I take care of things he constructs. We have a huge garden that he built that I have to weed and maintain. And he pays for dinner and my cell phone bill.
For this series, did you just shoot parks near Philadelphia?
I shot at a few locations on both the East Coast and West Coast, though I would prefer to stay quiet about the specific locations because that is not important. I did shoot in places that would feel similar so the landscape is anonymous also.
Did anyone you photographed ever want to see your photos or ask that you don’t publish them?
Well, no one knew what I was really up to. The people who comply in the process just think that this is my way of getting off.  People would occasionally ask and I would just say that I am photographing guys fucking in the woods and ask if they would like to be photographed.
Aren’t you worried about getting sued by some married banker because you ruined his life?
Yes, I am. That is one reason I would prefer the locations to remain anonymous, and I try to obscure the people’s faces. Most of the consent is fleeting too. Meaning, that I usually don’t talk. I just look and nod, and hold up my camera to let them know that I want to photograph them. They either don’t say anything and I take that as permission, or they wave me away and I go somewhere else. I am a scene killer sometimes.
How do you let them know that you are sex-friendly?
By getting groped, groping… Pretty G-rated stuff though.
That sounds very PG-13 to me.
Well, I walk around without a shirt and no underwear. I look a little slutty on purpose, of course. I had this one guy nod me over to join him, but when I started trying to shoot him, he freaked out. The funny thing about that guy was that I had photographed him the previous year, and I had seen him at a restaurant with my parents the day before.

BUTT - Chad_selfport_k

Does it turn you on to photograph guys doing it in the park?
Yes, in some ways, but really it was work. It was stressful trying to gauge the situation. I was sexually amused though, which is a little different then being sexually excited.
Do you ever shoot digitally?
I shoot film, medium format.
It must be a bitch to frame and compose when sex is happening.
Yes. I have a super hard time focusing with the camera.
Besides taking off your shirt, did you ever pull your dick out just to encourage a scene?
I never had to… There was always some guy with a much bigger dick than mine that I could get to do that part. Guys with big dicks like to show them off, and I like to look.
Are young guys still going to the park to get off in the age of Scruff and Grindr?
Scruff or Grindr aren’t particularly adventurous. Plus, chemistry is huge. I have slept with guys because of chemistry that I would have never even met if I saw their face through a pic profile.
Do old guys with big dicks have a chance?
They do, though I am very picky about my cocks. They need to be shaped a certain way.
What shape do you like?
I know it when I see it.
If I show you a pic of my cock, will you tell me if it passes muster?
Ok, but don’t be offended though.
It’s a webcam shot. Come on, you can be brutally honest.
I like the head. I would want the thickness to be the same throughout though. I like an even thickness with a good helmet head. The balls look good. But it’s also a little too tight, skin-wise. I like a little looseness, which is why I like uncut cock. I don’t pass muster myself, so I wouldn’t want to play cock roulette. Meaning, if I had a chance to spin the wheel on the kind of dick I got, I would pass on my own and spin again.
I’m sure your dick is fine. You want me to take a look?
I don’t have Dru’s permission to show you. Are we done? I had a date night scheduled, and I am feeling guilty for neglecting my duties.

‘Cruising’ is published this month by Powerhouse Books.

Published on 09 December 2011