• Photography (BFA)

    Joanne Imperio

    Centre of Equal

    The title of my thesis, Centre of Equal, alludes to Walt Whitman's poem America, in which he describes the United States as the centre of equal daughters, equal sons. Riddled with gender and racial inequality, the United States in many ways proves not to be the centre of equal. My interest lies in making me and my subjects of these images feel vulnerable through the photographic process and having the resulting photographs show men in ways in which they have not been conventionally represented. My intention is to promote another definition of masculinity, one that embraces vulnerability, gentleness and sincerity, instead of condemning those traits as signs of weakness. More important, I aim to recontextualize the idea of masculinity for future generations. My subjects are men whom I meet through an online ad. We meet for the first time on the day of the shoot, usually in an unfamiliar place: at a rented indoor space or at an outdoor location. Feelings of excitement coupled with anxiety arise from the process, and in this sense, I became as vulnerable as my subjects. I am interested in learning about their lives and perspectives in order to foster an atmosphere of vulnerability and to bridge the gap between us, whether that gap stems from age, gender, or our inherently different experiences.