“WET DREAM only came together for me quite recently. I was looking over the photos and recognised the routine of inviting someone over, turning on the red light and playing that one album. The title of each photo [and the series] is taken from the lyrics of the album ‘Psychic 9 – 5 Club’ by HTRK. I would play this album every time.
"It dawned on me that these images were something I could collate into a document of all these encounters I’ve had. You’d almost feel like you want some kind of record or you’d lose track of these people. Because it got to the point where nearly every night was someone new, someone different”. Brian Teeling is a photographer. Here, he talks masc through a recent photo essay, WET DREAM. Deeply introspective, it contemplates moments of fleeting and unfamiliar intimacy.
“It’s a picture of loneliness. There’s a lack of people in the photos; or personality, character, human form. Everything is ephemeral. A door left open, the poppers in soft focus, the smaller details. They're reminders of intimacy, artefacts; the only constant – rather than the boy. The person could be anyone.
“At the time I thought I was in love with someone. But I was in pain. Being away from them, even with a virtual connection to them, was painful. I craved intimacy from one person in particular but [without it], in order to express it, I used the apps. There would be reflections of that person in each one night stand. I became animalistic and destructive.
“I think it’s a kind of pain that so many of us can recognise. Spiritually, I felt a loss. That’s not to say I didn’t physically enjoy every single hookup. But that empty feeling, that loss, has allowed me to understand more about myself. WET DREAM has allowed me to understand that side of myself, my sex – how I felt then – a lot better. And to view and appreciate myself as a sexual person. In my early twenties and struggling with my sexuality, I never could.
“WET DREAM is a warning. There are elements of my behaviour there that I don’t want to repeat. I say to myself I won’t repeat them. But I know I do have that capacity for that primal urge. I’m dating someone now. WET DREAM is a reminder of what I’ve done, what I’ve experienced, and I know what the other side of the coin is. I’m not saying the grass is greener, but it’s a different experience. And it’s the one I want”.