OF MEN, A Photographic Study Series
I believe that men, particularly in American society, suffer from an unconscious bias against displays of platonic male affection. Men are uncomfortable in physical contact with each other unless that contact is aggressive. There is a pervasive pattern of touch isolation. It is rare that we see imagery of men engaged in nurturing physical contact with one another. Is this because masculine touch is most often interpreted as inherently sexual? Who is an adult male allowed to comfortably touch? Whether this paradigm is the cause of rampant homophobia or vice versa is unanswerable. My intention with the photographic study “Of Men” is to shine a light on this archetype; to raise the question rather than answer it.
The series of portraits in the third section – men holding hands – illustrates society’s subconscious prejudice against fraternal physicality. The act of joining these men through the clasp of their hands evokes feelings that may be awkward, or at times even shameful. In some, the inherent power struggle is subtly apparent; in all of them the contact is compelling. It is not my intention with these images to describe a fantasy of an America where men feel comfortable holding hands so much as to display clearly a view of the reality that they do not.