Dozens of gay and bi guys in Sydney have taken their clothes off for one of the city’s most experienced LGBTI community photographers.
Rod Spark says his Embodied Diversity exhibition coming up at Darlinghurst’s LOSTSpace Gallery explores the complex relationship we have with our bodies.
“While wearing clothes, we present a façade to the world that makes a statement about how we wish to be understood,” he explains. “Strip away those clothes and do we now show more of our true selves, or is it still a construction?
“Many of us are uncomfortable revealing our naked selves in public; we struggle internally to compete with the expectations of those ideals projected upon us, and to accept our own uniqueness. Presenting the subjects in and out of their clothes, I explore how we express our individual realities of masculinity and identity.”
Rod’s been photographing Sydney’s LGBTI people and events for over two decades, and says he took all the photos for this exhibition with “no staging, no make-up and no post-shoot touch-ups.”
Exhibited on juxtaposed walls of the gallery, the clothed self will face the naked self in a tussle for attention.
The images were produced over two afternoons with about 30 men at each event. Rod Spark hosted a house party and photo shoot simultaneously so that participants could meet, mingle and socialise and understand that body diversity is the norm.
“Our hyper-visual world bombards us with images of desirable bodies, underpinning the drive that many of us have to achieve the perfect body,” Spark points out.
“Gay and bisexual men are as susceptible as anyone to the marketing of the ideal of a fit, muscular, young body, and the need to achieve this can be overwhelming. But whether we are old, young, muscular, overweight or underweight, should we not all be valued?
“Does stripping away the facade of clothing reveal our true selves, or is it still a construction?”
The My Reality, Embodied Diversity exhibition begins at 6pm on Thursday 6 August and closes on Saturday 22 August at the LOSTSpace Gallery, 28 Little Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. Check into the event on Facebook here.