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Rites of Man

Since early childhood, I have been drawn to the world of men and boys. I wanted more than anything to emulate my two older brothers and believed if I were successful, I would have the key to the non-boring life. If I just played the game and followed the rules I, too, would be greatly rewarded. But at some point I was aware that at the center of power there was as club, and I did not belong to it. Someone else was calling the shots. However, as I matured I came to realize that men, too, are disenfranchised. I went back to my childhood aspirations to do what I once so wanted to do - hang out with the guys.

Many of these images are about men and boys in the process of creating their own myths in the sanctum-sanctorum of male environments. In sports, religion, politics and combat, men of different races classes and heritage communicate by doing things together. Here, traditions no longer necessary for survival have been transformed into rituals. Much of what is believed about the exercise of power is obsolete in the present. The caveman mentality outlived its usefulness when technology made the hunter obsolete. However, men's inherent survival instincts have created a strong desire to maintain the masculine image.  

The men who have participated in this project were welcoming and gracious to me. Very soon I realized how much easier and more accessible these male enclaves were to me, a women, than than they would be to a male photographer attempting to enter this same world. I was never perceived as a threat, and I wasn't in competition with them. The men wanted to help me, show me their world and were genuinely pleased that I paid attention to them. At times their openness to me was generated by an indirect sexism. There were those who did not take me seriously because I am a woman, and therefore they never thought I could harm them.

Through these photographs I have explored my relationship to the world of men in our culture. These images show men and boys as I see them, from my point of view, my special interest, and reflect my experience of growing up female in a world of men. I have often felt anger and envy, but equally I have felt much affection, gratitude and passion for the men in my life and the men that I photograph.
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