An exploration of the male nude, Sebastian Nevols’ series of images invites viewers to question our relationship with the body, particularly in the age of social media. In addition, he used the series to explore the relationship between photographer and subject.
“I had control when I wanted it, guiding, pausing to capture,” he says of his process. “But what this meant, I found, is that the unguarded moments revealed more than any calculated pose. Who is the main character in the story, the photographer or the subject? Who controls the narrative? I became familiar with the sitters but had no urge to name each person, each character in this series.
“They told me their story, what they did for a living, why they modelled and why they responded to me, and their bodies told a different story again. Still, I chose to keep their faces obscured or cropped out of the image entirely, to represent a ‘universal’ male body instead of a particular identity.
“I like the bodies because they are imperfect,” he continues. “I like the roughness of the skin, the blemishes, the wire-like hair. It’s important to me that the bodies in the images are of the people you pass in the street every day – a brother, a father, a son, a lover.
“We understand ourselves in part by recognising the ways in which we are similar to and different from others. I find in the bodies reflections of my own…. What is it to live in a man’s body; what is it worth? What does ‘worth’ mean, anyway, in the increasingly digital world of liking, linking, and sharing?
“These photographs explore this relationship between the real and perceived truth. Just like our reflection in a mirror, it is separate from the physical self we inhabit. The still image, like our mirror reflection, allows us to explore a body, every small detail, every patch of skin and flesh. Without the returned gaze back making us uncomfortable, we are free to just stare, to take it all in.”