In a brilliantly refreshing twist on the tired, Tumblr friendly images of beautiful girls naked beneath their translucent nighties, Nir Arieli’s portraiture project, Men, focuses on the male of the species. Poised, graceful and striking in their defiance of traditional classifications of masculinity, the soft gaze of the lens and the floral settings which surround his subjects seem to upset some kind of silent gender-norm that I didn’t even realise had infiltrated my mind until I was forced to resist it.
Nir began his career as a photographer for the Israeli magazine Bamachane before winning a scholarship to study at New York’s School of Visual Arts, and perhaps the military influence is still evident in his work; there’s certainly a kind of violence dormant in his images in spite of the fact that he cites “beauty and gentleness” as being at the heart of his work. His portraits of dancers beg attention too possessing the same kind of tension and refinement as pervades all of his work. Definitely one to watch.
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