BOYS WILL BE—
(print; publication design; photography)
A 10x16 inch, 211 page perfect bound book about masculinity, featuring stories from seven lovely men about their own associations with masculinity and manhood, and the ways in which society frames it.
In September 2017, my interest in gender studies was continuously growing, especially so in relation to the state of our country. The U.S. was still recovering from all that’s happened in just a year. Trump’s presidency, mass shootings, white supremacy and a public voice to sexual harassment (#metoo) all made me think of the ways in which hyper masculinity has shaped our society and the traditional gender norms that we abide by and how they effect us all.
I wanted my book to make a commentary on gender norms, specifically masculine gender norms; how in this society we raise boys to “be a man” and what that truly means. I wanted to hear from men around my age how they personally view masculinity and their own associations to manhood.
With questions like, “when you look up manhood in the dictionary, what portrait would you image seeing?,” “Can you think of a specific event in your life that made you doubt, question, define your masculinity?,” and several more, I interviewed seven men in their early to mid 20’s and made a book filled entirely with a transcription of our conversations and photographs that I took of them.
1 outreachI reached out to and asked as many men that I could think of for their participation.
2 questionsA total of 14 questions were curated by me (with advice from friends/family) for the interview.
3 interview/photographThese men were kind enough to welcome me into their home one by one to interview/photograph them.
4 designLots of late nights, lots of test prints.
5 printI learned to always allow for more time, and always bring extra paper.
6 bindPerfect binding 211 pages takes a lot of weight, binds and hours.
The book as a whole is big, heavy, and full of white space. I wanted a book that at first glance matches terms we typically assoicate with masculinity - obstrusive, demanding, big, bold, heavy, loud.
Juxtaposing this, the content itself is very vulnerable and intimate—things we don’t typically associate with masculinity.
I owe a very big thank you to these gentlemen for giving me their time, welcoming me into their homes, allowing me to photograph them, but most of all, for sharing their stories about their relationship to manhood and masculinity.
I hope this experience was as amazing to you as it was me. Thank you for your vulnerability, openness and excitement. I couldn't have done it without you.
And thank you Jayme for your help and critique along the way.