If I had hair, I'd want you to pull it

J Houston

2016 - Ongoing

United States

I hate the feeling of a damp swimsuit between my legs, sticky with sweat, melted chapstick, fruit juice. The imprint of grass on calf muscle, sunburn on only the left ear. Blisters that sting in the shower and sneakers with the bottoms peeling off. Now, we sit quietly while we watch TV, walls so thick we only hear the fridge humming under the voices. Do we wait for homeplace or do we create it?


These images build a queer community situated in the Midwest, examining what a utopia could look like in domestic and private landscapes. I center collected objects, hair, quiet performance, and unfetishized body. Sitting somewhere between reaction and fantasy, I pull materials integral to queer nightlife into the daylight. Using close friends and trans siblings as stand-ins for biological family, these images manifest a desire to have unconditional relationships without letting go of the landscape I grew up in. Shot on medium and large-format film, the images were made in areas around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and across Michigan, including friends, family, partners, interiors, and landscapes that repurpose the different layers of erasure experienced in this region.

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