My intention in this series of photographs is to explore the gender dynamics and sexuality of my subjects. I am also trying to capture how these dynamics are transformed into “appearances” which my subjects feel they must uphold. They 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.” These social pressures are a focus in many people's daily lives. For most people 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 their life, the majority of people are trapped in the confines of these roles. It confines us all.
Some of the subjects in these photographs have lived with one another, are blood related, have been romantically linked , have grown up and bonded together, and others have simply never met each other. These subjects are characters linked through trend and location, as well as being connected to me personally. The seemingly contradictory identifiers of income, taste or class are underscored by the locations that frame them: Boca Raton, Florida, Peabody, Massachusetts and Allston, Massachusetts. The trendy look of Florida’s glittering, tan and sexy styles abruptly transition to the mix of styes layered into a savvy, city, street look in New England. The images that represent these locations are as much caricatures as they are documentation.
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.
I am really interested in the fact that the cultural norm is to look old when you are young and young when you are old. While working on this project, I've heard things such as "You always need to look your best." "See these muscles, this is how you get all the girls."
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 lives, the majority of people are trapped in the confines of these roles, most oblivious to the existence of any confines at all.
One cannot 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.
It's my hope that through my photographs, people will start to see what they are looking at when they look into a mirror. American society looks into the mirror a bit too often, but by viewing the photographs, perhaps the truth will be revealed.
I want to bring awareness to how much America dwells on the "self." I also want to reveal what the stereotypical “American Dream” looks like through photos. Is this truly what we value? Is it selfish or is it self-esteem? What is it that makes us think we need to conform to the standard and be “normal?” Guys, girls, pretty, ugly, fat, skinny, muscles, young, old, and tough.
This project needs to be continued for years to come, for the simple reason of watching these people age, and adapt with the times...or perhaps not. Will they try to make themselves look younger/older, or will they accept their age? An important question we need to ask ourselves is, "Do you ever grow out of not wanting to grow old?"