I am not a man-hater. That is, I am not one of those feminists who insists that everything to do with the male of our species is wrong, that they smell, that they are all brutal, that they cannot do anything right. I would even go so far as to say that I am not a feminist at all, even though I do believe in equality, in equal pay for the same work and living on the same level in all aspects together. But I also believe that no matter what the gender may be, no matter in which direction a person may feel themselves drawn – men / woman, man / man, woman / woman, whatever. We all came out of the womb defenseless, wrinkled and equally lost, and there are few things which change as the years go by.
My friend Dan, back home in the States, has recently turned his hand to new ideas in his quest for photographic excellence, even allowing himself to be photographed in an interesting experiment to see exactly what can be done with the human form. If you can’t get it to work on yourself, it is difficult to succeed with those you have to direct, move, pose and then, finally, pacify when it takes longer than they thought.
It seems to me almost as if we are driving one another on, without actually challenging each other to do anything new or special, but an unspoken challenge to see how far we can go, what we can do, what our next achievement should be.
Photo Source: modelmayhem
Now, I am not one to turn such challenges down, even when they are in a field which is not really one I have had anything to do with, one which is not exactly a niche I could or would ever wish to claim for myself. However, what I wish to do with this post is point out some of the delights, from a photographic sense, which can be found in the male form. Purely from the aesthetic point of view, nothing to do with sexual preferences or anything like that, the male form can be very pleasing indeed, and also very challenging to photograph.
Photo Source: queerclick
The challenges for the male form are completely different to those we normally associate with the female form, not just because of gender and general acceptance of what is erotic and what is not, but mainly because the shape, the definitions which need to be enhanced, played upon, are completely different. For the best quality work, as a photographer, it is necessary to work far more with light and shade, with definition of muscles, rather than more prominent features!
Photo Source: adonismale
Settings are also of paramount importance. What works with the female form is not necessarily going to have the same effect with a male body, with the manner in which movement is suggested, with how they need to be presented. Here far more emphasis needs to be placed on strength, on masculinity. Surroundings need to emphasis the male side of the species, the character of a model, or the portrayed character. There is less beauty to display and much more rugged handsomeness: a beautiful man is going to be quite acceptable but does not have the same feeling to it unless you are concentrating on fashion works.
Photo Source: forwardedfunnies
A ruggedly handsome man set amongst cherry blossom, for example, is not going to have the same effect on the viewer as the same person in a more masculine setting. Funnily enough, the female form seems to lend itself more to being draped across tractors and other farming machinery than the male form does, but this is perhaps more the unwanted effects of marketing campaigns over many years, and has less to do with reality.
Photo Source: modelmayhem
Although, as we can see from the example above, there are some things which work very well with both sexes, and even the image of a nude or semi-nude woman fly-fishing has its appeal! Working with the male nude is considerably more of a challenge, to my way of thinking, but this is perhaps more because the female nude is so widely accepted as being the perfect medium for suggesting erotica and, more so, because male nude photography is almost always automatically associated with homosexuality.
Even the self-shot, whilst not as prevalent amongst males as amongst females, has its place and all I can say here is:
Photo Source: justusboys
eat your heart of Scarlett Johannson!
Perhaps more to the point, men tend to pose as nude models considerably less than women, perhaps because the market is not quite so brilliant for nude male works, perhaps because they have a certain shyness when it comes to being photographed. Either way, a shame, there is a great deal of potential there, if only people were prepared to see the photographs as works of nude art and not automatically associate them with either same-sex sexuality or pornography.
Love & Kisses, Viki.