By Christopher Harrity
Originally published on Advocate.com April 07 2014 5:00 AM ET
At left: Adam Moco
Imagine talking to the guy you have been flirting with online and he suddenly tells you that, no, it's not about a hookup, but yes, he would like to come over and take some pictures of you.
Tryst Pic is a portrait project utilizing popular location-based "hookup" apps geared toward gay men such as Grindr, Scruff and Hornet. The project aims to repurpose the meaning of a random "hookup," linking Toronto-based Adam Moco, the photographer, and subject in a nonsexual context through the art of portraiture.
The "hookups" range from a few minutes to a few hours, all taking place within the subject's personal space. Using only natural and available light, the approach for each shoot is to establish an open atmosphere, allowing the subject's unique personality to shine through. Connections are made between strangers around the world, and in some cases, new friendships form.
Moco has found the perfect way to combine his love of photography, travel, and his natural curiosity about other men.
The Advocate: Do the guys use the pictures you take as their profile pictures afterward?
Adam Moco: I've noticed a few guys have made their photos from Tryst Pic their "hookup-app" profile pic. But you know how social media goes, new selfies often, leading to the constant change of profile photos.
When you connect with the guys, do you let them know right away what your intentions are?
I do for the most part. Especially when traveling to new places, time is a factor, so I jump right into it. Sometimes I like to just start with chatting and get a sense of the person before asking. Everyone I photograph is aware that I am meeting them for the project and that alone.
Have you had any really intense experiences, negative or positive, that you can tell this (family) website?
I've had some really great experiences, and the biggest part of that is how I've made new friends and beautiful connections around the world. An interesting example of a positive experience would be when in my personal life I was looking to start singing lessons, and shortly after I met James of Toronto, my hometown, who is a vocal coach, and after hanging out for three hours and connecting on a personal level, he took me on as one of his students. I haven't had many negative experiences, minus the times of getting lost in a foreign country, which really is the fun part about traveling, and the few guys who have responded to my request rudely, but I don't take it to heart. I understand that there are guys on these apps that are looking for one thing only, NSA if you will, and that's not what I'm bringing to the table.
Check out the official website of Tryst Pic or learn more on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The artist's website is AdamMoco.com.
Click through to view Adam Moco's Tryst Pic series >>>
About: Freelance contemporary dance artist
When I made it to James's flat, or at least I thought I had, I quickly got the feeling that I was lost. Turned out I had the wrong address. Thank goodness I had some credit left on my phone from Berlin and called James and tried to describe where I was. The sweetheart left his place and walked 10 minutes to come find me, and I'm so happy he did. We got along really well and ended up hanging out that evening and talking about our love for RuPaul's Drag Race (that he had just recently discovered!) over a bottle of wine at Shoreditch House. James is an incredible contemporary dance artist. Check out this beautiful video of a project he worked on called Terrarium.
About: Writer, filmmaker, violinist
Thank goodness I was around for another week when I asked to photograph Paul. He was interested, but he said he was overdue for a haircut that he then did himself! A man of many talents, one of them being a violinist — a favorite moment of mine was when he played me the most beautiful song.
One of my favorite connections that I've made so far is with James. We hit it off instantly, realizing how similarly we thought about life; it was no surprise our birthdays are four days apart. Before I met James, I was looking for a vocal coach. Turned out he is one! We ended up hanging out for three hours, he sang for me, we looked through his wedding album, I sang for him, and then left as one of his new students.
About: Student, model
This shoot and connection mean a lot to me. It was the very first one I did for Tryst Pic, and it ignited my excitement about starting this project. His place, his features, and the ease of entering a stranger's home — Arjen made my first time, if you will, a great one.
Steve & Luca
Age: 36 & 37
About: Unix system administrator & illustrator-writer
When I met Luca and Steve via Hornet, I was so excited they were up for being photographed. Steve (ginger) is the more reserved one and Luca the more chatty. Hearing their stories of coming out, engagement, and upcoming wedding, I could feel their love while photographing them. I left inspired by their relationship and also gifted with two books that Luca illustrated and authored:
Some People Have Two Dads and Some People Have Two Mums.
Location: Kitchener, Canada
About: Classical pianist
Before photographing Darren, we met up at a café in Kitchener to chat and he told me all about his interesting and cultured life. He grew up and was home-schooled in West Africa, started playing the piano at the age of 5, and is now a classically trained pianist (see here). He compared his life to that of Cady from Mean Girls and I believed it... he didn't know who the Spice Girls were until a few years ago!
About: Assistant store manager
As we were sitting and chatting, I looked at Matthias and had the feeling of familiarity. We got into what he did for work and we realized that three months prior to our Tryst Pic moment, when I was in Berlin last, he had helped me with shoes at the shop where he works. To think how many people we know now that we've actually crossed paths with before and don't even know it!
A former model, Mur made it so easy to photograph him. A little bit of a language barrier, making our time together shorter than most, but a pleasant one!