New Photographic Project for Men
There is a difficulty and a welcome challenge in expressing one’s anxieties with images. The American photographer Peter Hujar remarked “I can only express myself through photography”. Songwriters use their vocabulary, tone of voice and key to convey their emotions. For photographers there is an appreciation of lights effect. There is also an innate curiosity of the function of images, be this with other images or text as we strive towards a comprehension of the human condition.
Using a large format camera to focus on performative portraiture, self- portraiture and still life, I enact moments of British male identity, a concept in perpetual flux as the rigid grip of more traditional dualisms of gender are released. The slow process of making portraits with a view camera prolongs the sense of being observed through the extended time the sitter must be still before the lens. This is important as I intend to subjugate men, who would traditionally take a dominant role in the photographic transaction.
I am fascinated by the interplay of potential meanings that takes place between male subjects and the objects they surround themselves with. The objects may be imbued with gendered connotations of power, status and temperament. I ask what happens when they are photographed apart. What is the significance of the objects we surround ourselves with? Once internalised, do our possessions become the building blocks of identity and are they used to buttress a continual gender imbalance?
Rooted in my experience of addiction, and unwanted sexuality, my research has considered the effects of constant coercion from society to conform to a British male identity that has long been problematic. This continuing body of work is being made as I contend to understand the difficulty of representing complex issues with images.