Location: Paris, Ile de France, France
Over the course of one year I invited over fifty men to my home to be photographed naked. Most were strangers, and it would be the first time we met. Stripping my bed to a white sheet, my most intimate space became a site for the man to be at his most intimate. An area with defined boundaries to move within, into which I would look, and he would be looked at. Being a woman, at the age of forty, contemplating the naked male body feels curiously problematic. With representations of the male nude predominantly made by male artists, there is a lack of imagery exploring a female sensual response to male beauty. Regardless of the advances made in recognising women’s capacity for and right to visual pleasure, the historically dominant male gaze prevails. Pursuing a way of looking at and portraying man, I questioned the cliched symbols of a ‘hard’ and ‘active’ masculinity which deny vulnerability or the supposed feminine qualities of ‘soft’ and ‘passive’. Allowing oneself to be the object of another’s gaze requires yielding one’s control and allowing for a revealing to occur, both physically and emotionally. To be naked-as-an-object – to become a nude – furthers this uncovering. In photographing this series of men I was entrusted with this exposure. Within this encounter, between him and me, what would I see?