Quiet challenges ways in which men are traditionally represented. It opens up a space for complex conversations surrounding masculinities: violence, representation through media and art, power , justice, understanding and it opens up the space for men to see themselves in alternative ways.
The media helps, as Dr Jackson Katz, US educator, filmmaker and author puts it, to “construct violent masculinity as a cultural norm. It is of interest to men, and to society in general, that the normality of violent masculinity be challenged in order to create space for men to see themselves in other ways. Pull back the curtain on the tough guy posing and to see what is really going on underneath. This guise damages their psyche and their ability to be decent human beings.”
A total of 16,259 people were murdered within a one-year period last year in South Africa. Close to 45 a day. The murder rate is around four times higher than the world average, It is estimated that over 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 9 rapes are reported. Men commit majority of the overwhelming violent crimes. Women’s groups are generally at the forefront tackling these issues. Very little focus is given to the men.
Over a 3 year period I asked friends, colleagues and acquaintances to introduce me to men they might know. The men collaborated with me in creating a quiet portrait of themselves . They came from all walks of life. I asked each man to wear only his underwear ie. to strip him of his protection, his uniform”. I photographed him in his safe space. The photographic shoot lasted from an hour to 3 hours. I also posed the question to each man “Who are you in the world?”