image by
Billy Monk

I am drawn back and forth between my immediate impulse to reject what I see and the discovery that I do share something with Billy Monks protagonists: I reject the dirt, the shabby surroundings, I reject the potential disrespect of women, I reject boozy ecstasy and I reject this lack of privacy. But then I realize that these photographs tell the tale of some basic human needs, the need for sex, the need for contact and the desire to touch and to be touched. Though Billy Monks photographs seem to be honest documents of a certain reality at a certain place at a certain time, this assumption about photographic honesty is, as always, delusive. Billy Monks shows us what he wanted to see, and he expressed what he was compelled to express. He tells us a story about himself and the people he has met, and his images, if we take the time to look at them for a while, start to speak, or to put this differently, they are the starting point for our phantasies about these people and we might recognize, they are like us.