Gender Roles and Appearance
In this series of photographs, my intention is two-fold. First, is to explore the gender dynamics and sexuality of my subjects. Secondly, I am trying to capture how these dynamics are transformed into “appearances” which my subjects feel they must uphold. These dynamics are preserved as they are passed down from one generation to the next. "You have to look good.” “You have to be a man.” “You have to look young if you are old, and old if you are young.” “The more muscles you have, the better you are." These social pressures are a focus in many people's daily lives. For most people, young and old, maintaining and upholding an “image” has become an obsession. This obsession extends not only to appearance, but also to the gender roles one is imprinted with at a very young age. Throughout the course of their life, the majority of people are trapped in the confines of these roles, most oblivious to the existence of any confines at all. One can not escape that which he does not see.
There are layers of image-consciousness at work. I am emphasizing the way the subjects want to be perceived, the way the photographer is capturing them, and the way the viewer perceives the image as a whole.
I want to show people what they can not see when they are looking in the mirror; they are looking in the mirror a little too much. I want to bring awareness to how much America dwells on having the best for themselves and how the stereotypical “American Dream” looks through photos. Is this what we really want to be spending our time on? Is it selfish or is it self esteem? What is it that makes us think we need to be the “normal”?
This project needs to be continued for years to come. For the simple reason of seeing these people grow old and adapt with the times. Will they try to make themselves look younger, or will they accept their age? The question is, Do you grow out of growing old?
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