Look at me is a female exploration of the nude male body.
The project began because I was wondering why I see so little nude men in our visual culture. While I was investigating this, I became interested in the way nude men are portrayed.
I noticed that they were often depicted according to a masculine ideal: active, dominant and muscular. Out of curiosity I started to take pictures of nude men.
In Look at me I try to choose a different approach in the traditional way of looking in our visual culture. The images respond to the underrepresented female gaze on the male nude and the existing stereotypical representation of masculinity.
Where is the nude man?
In the summer of 2017 I started photographing the female body. After photographing women for a while, the male nude caught my interest.
The female body was something that was very familiar to me. The male body was not. When I was doing research on the male nude, I was amazed by the abundance of naked women in our visual culture, while the male nude was conspicuous by its absence.
After watching the famous episode ‘The ways of seeing’ by John Berger, I realized how we are so used to looking at women. His famous quote is still relevant today. “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.”
This absence of the female gaze on the male nude got me excited. So much to explore! So I put a call out for male models and got started.
Maybe something is missing in the way nude men are depicted
The only reference material I had of the male nude were artworks made by men and visuals in which they depict men according to a masculine ideal: muscular and athletic.
It is a standard for male beauty that comes from ancient Greece and has been revived in recent decades through the fitness and the internet revolution.
I was wondering if this is not a one-sided reflection of masculinity and what we like about the male body. So I started playing with different kinds of body poses.
So I developed my own gaze on the male nude. This project also includes a first exploration of female sexuality.
I was interested in references to sexuality in nature, which is often very stereotypical and direct. A grapefruit as a symbol for the vagina and a banana as a phallus symbol.
Are there also symbols that carry both feminine and masculine energy? And what happens if I combine them with my male nudes?
How did my models experience the photoshoot? Listen to this audiofile.
Who cares what a real man is? It is time for a new perspective
The project is presented as a series of A0 posters and a book.
This refers to the mediatypes that are often used to show female nudes. I wanted the posters to be big as a way to give them the attention they deserve.
In the book I made a combination of photos, posters and a little manifest. In this manifest I am asking for a new perspective on the male nude.
LOOK AT ME can be seen as a response to the underrepresented female gaze on the male nude in media, musea and art galleries.
The project LOOK AT ME was first shown in Loods 6 in Amsterdam.