On photographing men

Álvaro

Álvaro

A friend of a friend asked me on Facebook why I only photograph women. The fact is that I do photograph men, but I do not publish the photos on Facebook. They are too boring.

My response to him was that men, in general, do not enjoy being in front of a camera. I told him that I consider the model’s enjoyment to be essential to a successful photo.

The exception to my general statement is if men are posing with a woman they admire they will have a better experience in front of the lens. But it is a vicarious experience. They are not enjoying being who they are, they are enjoying borrowed confidence.

The man in the photo is Álvaro Malo. I met him at a family photo shoot. He presents himself to the camera with confidence and without apology. Those traits are rare among men these days.

Allicia, at The Domes

Allicia shows her style, at The Domes

I like to explore nude photos on Tumblr. There are thousands of women—and a few men—on display. The men appear to be somewhere between bored and being in pain. The women appear to be delighted. We would do well to notice the difference.

The same descriptions apply to people wearing clothes, at least in my experience.

The Facebook friend who asked the question then posted a comment that he would like me to photograph him. I told him I would be glad to do that.

I read a lot of books about leadership and being a role model. Men are mostly out of touch with those activities. I see the evidence in my viewfinder.

As a society we are in denial about the failure of the male spirit. I often refer to Robert Bly’s book, Iron John in this blog. It is about getting in touch with the primitive male spirit, hopefully done around a campfire. Our state of male awareness is reflected in the corrosive and hostile political environment, the tragic abuses by the super rich, and the callousness of most employers. A nation of men would have eliminated homelessness by now. 

150 million American men cannot eliminate homelessness and hunger in the US of A. We won World War II. I see a message in that. Perhaps you do too.

The existence of Hump Day marks a failure of men.

For a long time I hoped things would be better by now. Young people should be prepared for what lies ahead. I’ve seen a lot, as all people my age have. We should have some leisurely conversations. That’s my opinion, anyway.

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