'HIS WORDS NOT MINE'
His Words, Not Mine is a photography series I undertook working with old texts from past relationships and friendships I'd had with men. The project plays with blurred lines in relationships and I kept asking myself 'when does a guy stop being a friend', y'know, in this day and age, when does a text say more about a relationship between two people than their own faces and physicality? At what point do things become serious in a relationship? And is it naturally progressive or unconsciously done, is it consciously done, do people have conversations about it? There's no one right answer.
I set out to take pictures of a few of my male friends over a period of 3-4 months and once I had dev'd, scanned, and uploaded, I gradually put together the idea. None of the models featured in each photo have anything to do with the texts I've used. In fact, the texts and where they came from, who wrote them to me, stayed strictly anonymous and confidential. It was kind of hard to do regarding the texts, it meant I had to go back and open up a lot of old wounds from a long time ago and look at conversations I'd had with exes or ex-friends which were quite painful to read again. Of course I threw in a photo of myself with a text, because all these messages from exes and portraits of my male friends are all connected by me. 'I lose feelings for you like keys' was a response I sent once to an ex. You lose keys, but then you find them again.
I guess I thought I could give people my insight into men, that in a society that tells them to toughen up, they’re actually fragile. These are pictures of men drinking with the guys or smoking, where they're not necessarily baring themselves emotionally, but these texts, albeit completely unrelated to the models, continue to tell you a different story about men.
I also wanted to tell half a story about that gradual shift between what friendship looks like, and what a sexual relationship looks like. The other half of the story is up to you.
I don't know if I really capture that in these photos, I suppose a lot of it is also about exploring the male condition and what it means to be a guy in the 21st century. How they hold themselves, how they look, what they do. I'd like to thank all of my friends who modelled for each photo and helped to make this series what it is.
This series appeared in exhibition at Falmouth's Thrown Gauntlet Festival, January 2017.
This series was also featured in FOULmouth Zine.