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Embracing Diversity: Blah Blah Genitals (VOGUE Italia)

Blah Blah Genitals by photographer Julia Falkner and stylist Lorena Hydeman is a photo documentary series exploring the formation of gender identity in boys between the ages of six and sixteen. It was exhibited at Galleria Lattuada in Milan as part of Photo Vogue Festival's group show Embracing Diversity. I have been brought on board to shoot and edit video portraits of 4 boys.

"Julia and Lorena began the project after shooting male family members and family friends. Breaking the boys away from their daily routine and relationships and giving them the blank canvas of a photoshoot allowed them to explore their own identities. The diverse backgrounds of the boys revealed contrasting perspectives on the male stereotypes that we have today. Homophobia, cross-gender behaviour, aggression, emotional awareness, parental and peer relationships were discussed throughout imagery, questionnaires and video interviews. 

The aims of the project were to discover how the subjects location, ethnicity, personality, family dynamic and economic background influence the vast spectrum of their diverse views on masculinity. With the increased media presence of individuals that are blurring rigid gender roles, how are the roles perceived by today’s generation of boys. Is toxic masculinity a thing of the past or will they grow up to be men still plagued by issues such as, mental health, reckless behaviour, machismo, suppression of individuality and sexuality. “That’s a girly drink”, “Man up”, “He cries like a girl” are all phrases commonly thrown around. 

The male gaze has been a massive topic of conversation, as it should be. However, the photographer-stylist duo wanted to look at themselves and the female gaze and how that propagates the alpha-male mentality. Are ideas of gender innate in the boys or results of societal pressure?

Blah Blah Genitals is a visual subversion of what it means to be a man; today’s generation of boys helped to create it through their honest, innocent and raw self-expression."
(taken from VOGUE.it)

"Their first long-term project together, the portraits are accompanied by video interviews (with videography by Asli Demirbilek) with each subject, reflecting on the shoot, how it made them feel, and their opinions on masculinity." (taken from It's Nice That)

Blah Blah Genitals has been covered by ID, Dazed, It's Nice That and Guardian amongst others.  Two films I created with the duo as part of the commission have also been exhibited in Milan and can be found on SHOWStudio.