This intriguing photoessay was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016. Discover more inspiring work from all the 39 winners, finalists and Jurors’ picks.

Iquitos, Peru is a city of approximately half a million people located on the Amazon river. The only ways to access it are by boat or plane.—there are no highways connecting it with the rest of Peru, rendering the city a virtual island.

Surrounded on three sides by water, the city itself is dense, heavily urbanized, and generally lacking in parks and vegetation, in contrast to the jungle just beyond.

The photographs in this work were taken between 2011 and 2015 on five separate visits to Iquitos. They depict young gay men in their environs, landscapes of the city, details and interiors. The LGBT community in Iquitos is highly visible but also subject to homophobia, transphobia and violence.

Within the community, there is a manifest desire to transcend place and reality via imported and exotic fantasies which take place against the backdrop of a city in many ways mundane.

—Thomas Locke Hobbs