What defines masculinity? This is the question photographer Chad States asked the subjects of his fascinating series Masculinities. The artist finds his models through Craigslist by placing an ad seeking those who identify as being masculine. “I intentionally leave it gender-neutral so males, females and transpeople feel free to respond. Most of the respondents are men, but a few are female and a few are trans. I posted to a bunch of different categories to cast as wide a net as possible,” the photographer said in a recent interview.
States meets them in their homes for the first time to maintain a sense of vulnerability between artist and model. Every pose and setting is up to the subject: “I want them to construct their identity for me, not for me to decide what I want from them.”
The series is accompanied by a definition or explanation of masculinity written by the subject. The images, and responses, range from appalling, to bizarre, and sometimes refreshing. States hopes the images will spark a greater conversation about gender, and in part, wanted to offer “a way for anyone who might have issues with their relationship to their own masculinity to have a chance to be seen and heard.”
See how 12 men define their masculinity in our gallery.
“I have been called a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), a renaissance man, a male in touch with his feminine side, etc…. I think that I am masculine in the sense of self reliance.”