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  • Jonathan Isserow

Pluralities of Masculinity

Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography - Barbican Centre London


From the 20th February to 17th May 2020, the Barbican, London, are showing a thought provoking exhibition exploring photographic representations of masculinity. According the curator Alona Pardo it explores how masculinity is 'experienced, performed, coded and socially constructed' in photography and film from the 1960s to the present. A must see for anyone interested in gender, representation and photography.


Pardo says: 'The show is full of humour, and it’s playful. But it’s also pretty dark and sinister. It both exposes and reveals, but it also debunks. It’s this idea that there is no singular identity of masculinity – we wanted to underscore exactly the plurality, the diversity, the inclusivity of what it might mean, and how we really need to continuously chip away at these terms.'


It is this plurality, diversity and inclusivity of what masculinity might be, that inform my project's interest in participatory methods, where participants may be given the opportunity to develop imagery that may represent themselves, and masculinity, anew. It is this idea that I hope to carry with me through my fellowship.


Photo from: Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography

Larry Sultan Business Page, 1984

My photo above of Sultan's photograph in the exhibition, evokes personal childhood memories—possibly shared by others of my generation—of a father seated at the breakfast table reading his newspaper. Physically present yet enigmatically hidden behind the broadsheet.

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Narratives of Masculinity

© 2020 Jonathan Isserow

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