“The bathroom is something that everyone thinks of as dirty and as something not to be discussed, like nudes. Yet if you see urinals in the right light they can be seen as beautiful.
I want the viewers of my work to see the beauty that can be found in the men’s restrooms on this campus.
These are my nudes”
– Ryan Hoover (artist statement)
I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Photography from Pacific Union College in 2002. My senior degree project Standing Room Only was a very interesting experience. The project came together in an unusual way as I was photographing the faculty group portraits for that year’s yearbook. After completing a series of portraits, I wanted to use up the remaining frames of the 120 Kodak Verichrome Pan film before heading to the darkroom to process the rolls. Stopping off in the restroom a strange idea popped into my head, and as they say, the rest is history.
With a total of 27 urinals of different types on campus I organized them into 3 categories; round (otherwise referred to as wall-hung with p-trap), square (referred to as wall-hanging with built-in trap) and full length or stall urinals. Amazingly enough the 3 groups were almost equal in number allowing for easy arraignment into 6 frames each displaying 4 urinals for a total of 24 images. I chose to use 4 inch deep shadow boxes size 16 x 20 inches, with 1 inch margins between the images and matte. Each image measured 4 x 5¾ inches and they were float mounted 1 inch from the back of the frame. The finishing touch of the project was my self-portrait overlaid by my artist statement, mounted in a plastic urinal.
This project was in a way a tribute to the Janitorial Department, as I did not call ahead or give any notice to them of when or where I would be photographing, yet every bathroom was clean and spotless.
On the evening of the Senior Degree Project opening at the Rasmussen Art Gallery, I overheard an older women say to a friend of hers, while looking at my work, “well at least you can’t smell them!”