On a routine walk to Haldon Forest in Devon, we discovered something grotesque. The space where we had been exploring changed into a location where people had been exploring their secret erotic fantasies. This photographic series studies Haldon Forest over several months too see how it changes with its apparent regular use. Bacchanalia is inspired by the Greek and Roman festival of Bacchus - a gathering, often secret, that celebrated the fertility of the gods. Bacchus is often represented in nude 18th century tableau. This body of work could argue that “dogging” is a modern day version of Bacchus.
I was persistently followed through the woods by one man for approximately 15 minutes. He must of thought that I was somehow signalling him for some “fun”.
While photographing, a man came in, stared at us, pulled down his trousers and had a wee.
Several months before this image was taken, my friend and I encountered an old, hunched over man sat in his Mercedes right by the entrance to the woods. He kept staring and smiling. As we walked past, he wound down his window, looked at us both and says “Are you boys here for some fun?”. We said no and continued to walk away, slightly creeped out by what had just happened. Fast forward a few months and we saw him again in the same spot. As we were leaving he headed in the same direction as us so we followed. He led us right to the dragons den. I was behind the wheel so I directed my friend Craig, a fellow photographer, to snap this picture for me.
When we reached the car park that the Mercedes man pulled into, another old man in his car quickly pulled up next to us. He wound down his window and kept staring at us. We think when I turned my lights off he must of presumed that we were signalling him for some activity.
I had read that there were parts of the woods with plastic bags hung up containing condoms and lube, but I didn’t think it was real. After plucking up the courage, I went into the “active zone” to photograph the area.