This project created at LABA Valencia in 2023, addresses the concept of fragile masculinity, a notion that challenges the conventional perspective linking masculinity with strength, dominance, and the absence of vulnerability. The photographer delves into this idea by donning various garments that represent both masculine and feminine archetypes.
Primarily, the photographer presents themselves in underwear, shedding the external layers that conceal and protect, thus revealing their vulnerability and authenticity. This choice defies entrenched stereotypes of virility and strength associated with traditional masculinity.
In contrast, in some images, the photographer wears a blazer, an item typically associated with power and control. However, by combining it with unusual elements, such as a pearl necklace, the photographer challenges rigid stereotypes and demonstrates that masculinity encompasses a broader spectrum of expression. The inclusion of the pearl necklace, traditionally associated with femininity, signifies a departure from established norms and encourages exploration of new facets of masculinity.
On certain occasions, the model opts for a sheer shirt that partially exposes their body. This choice challenges the notion that masculinity is solely defined by the concealment and denial of vulnerability. The transparency of the garment invites acceptance of one’s own skin and emotional exposure, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and honesty in the construction of masculine identity.
The placement of a chair on a cliff in the midst of nature adds another element of strength to the series. The chair, which typically symbolizes power and authority, is situated in a fragile and vulnerable environment, questioning conventional conceptions of masculinity. The presence of nature in the background highlights the connection to authenticity and the freedom to be oneself, transcending imposed stigmas.
In summary, «Free To Be Me» is a photographic series that challenges gender and fashion stereotypes by exploring fragile masculinity. Through impactful self-portraits, the photographer urges us to reflect on the construction of masculine identity and the importance of authenticity and self-acceptance. This project may be of interest to models wishing to participate in artistic nude sessions and to brands seeking fashion campaigns with a symbolic combination of garments.
Teacher: Vincent Urbani at LABA Valencia School of Art Design & New Media
© Miguel Sánchez Mosquera 2023