bare men (nsfw)

Sometime last week I was Pinteresting, like I do when I’m avoiding something, when I stumbled upon a pin by Refinery 29, a women’s culture site, about “12 Pictures of Naked, Vulnerable men”. Being a fan of both men and nakedness, I clicked. The website’s almost article and slideshow were lackluster, but I was intrigued by the artist’s quotes about the reasoning behind the series of photographs. I went to her website and instantly, this project found a place in my heart.

baremencover
Courtesy of Abigail Ekue

The series is called Bare Men. It is a series of photographs by Abigail Ekue showing men naked and vulnerable because those two things are rarely seen in the public eye and especially not together. The whole website is a great read and the photographs are amazing. I really recommend taking a look.

Bashful
Courtesy of Abigail Ekue

After reading through the website, I had SO MANY QUESTIONS because I have questions all the time, especially about things that make me curious. So I sent her an email with my questions and she emailed back so quickly! Check out here answers below.

Did the body language of the men change if/when they became aroused? Was there a consistent change among many of the men?

I can’t say there was a consistent change among the men. Some of the men got aroused and we continued to shoot. They expressed interest in getting erotic images done of themselves so even if they had to think themselves into that state or take some time to stroke until they became aroused, I would take a break from shooting then start again when they were ready. Others got erections because they were nervous.

Did you ever feel like men were trying to seduce you with their nakedness?

Yes, considering the majority of the men I’ve worked with are hetero or bi I think there was a definite “power play” at some moments. They’re nude in front of woman and she’s taking photos. But I’m professional during the shoots. It’s a fine line giving verbal cues to get him in a particular pose or frame of mind and flirting. I can compliment a man on a shot we’ve created without it being skeevy or sexual. I think out of ego they wanted to elicit some sort of response from me. Some men, who approach me for the series or private nude shoots admit that being naked in front of a women is a thrill for them.

When and how did this idea come to you? Did you have an ah hah moment?

It wasn’t really one particular aha moment. I always loved the idea of editorial photography. As much as I love movies, there’s something about still photography that I gravitate towards. So I did a male nude photo shoot and the response was positive. Viewers were intrigued by a feminist approach to male nudes even though that wasn’t my intention. From there working with more men, I knew I wanted a collection. The photo exhibit was the first idea. Fine art nudes of men with full frontal nudity are rare. I want(ed) to produce that.

Did this series change anything for you as an artist, photographer, woman?

I can’t say Bare Men has changed me as a woman. From personal relationships, I already knew that men had this other side to them – vulnerability, angst, insecurities, bravado – and it’s great that men are willing to share that part. As an artist, the series has been an extension of my other work. Before I started the series, I was already writing and blogging about sex, relationships and body image, I’d published the first edition of my erotic short story collection, The Darker Side of Lust, some of my self portraits were nude and I used to be a nude art model. I did a small collage project years ago called “Men Wanted” where I asked me questions about what it’s like to feel wanted. I’ve always worked to share how people think and to express their experience. That is a project I would revisit on a grander scale. now. http://www.abigailekue.com/MenWanted.html

You mentioned a book… Is it available? If not, can I preorder? :)

Yes, there will be a Bare Men book! I already have the layout done and with each new photo shoot I drop in new photos. It will be a hardcover, glossy, full color objet d’art. Think something you’d find in TASCHEN. Limited edition too. I don’t have a preorder link set up just yet. I have my eyes set on Feb/March 2016 for moving on to phase 2. By then I can start taking preorders because I’d know how many pages the book will be, the cost of printing and then know how to price it for consumers. Stay tuned!

Go check it out!

Sarah xoxo

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