Friday, May 01, 2009

Ready for YOUR Close-Up??

Pick any one of these faces and
stare directly into their eyes for 10 seconds.

Read them. Size them up. Go ahead, we do it anyway. It's okay.

So go ahead...STARE at them.
No one's looking.

Martin Schoeller is the photographer who took these. You've seen his stuff on the covers of Esquire and ESPN magazines. But I never had a back-to-back experience until Esquire's May '09 issue: How to Be a Man.

As I flipped the magazine pages, staring into the eyes of both familiar and unfamiliar men, I was startled by my own intrigue. Not one face said "Like me". No one was trying to charm, entice, or sell. You couldn't see their clothes, build, or compensations, enhancements or distractions. They were just there. Although they were shot in the same tight angle that starts 2 inches above their hairline and an inch below their chin, they were all so strikingly different.

Mickey Rourke wasn't a scary oddball. He was a loving soul who knew Failure so well they had a secret handshake.

In Alex Rodriguez's picture he seems unsettled, driven, and even a little angry that something is still missing.

Kanye has very stormy eyes and a gentle spirit. You can see his quiet tantrum about Life's injustices. You can also see the boy his mother loves.

I noticed a twinge of discomfort every now and then as I looked them in their eyes. The only thing that disappeared that feeling was remembering that they couldn't see me. I just don't know if I would ever let myself be so exposed. Vulnerable? Free for all to see and make up their own pointless theories? No thank you! I want to figure me out before anyone else. Who wants to sign up for that critique?

I got curious about the photographer's work and I wanted to see women. I didn't think we'd be up for the demasking. After all, it is our sole duty as women to be attractive to men. God forbid the closeup photo revealed our pores or laugh lines! For the most part, I was right. Very few women photographed without makeup. But what was most interesting to me was what I caught myself doing exactly what I feared: judging.

I went to his website (click here) and saw female bodybuilders. I'm not going to lie, I totally browsed for the shock value. But by the 13th person I was embarrassed at how I automatically dismissed their humanity. As if they existed for my Pass/Fail vote. These were the eyes of women who were no different than me. In their faces I saw facets of myself and I was caught off-guard. I saw the passion, the questions, the love, the fear, the perfectionism, the accomplishments, the failures, the drive, the people who love them, the people who don't understand them, the incessant judgment... it really was all there.

How close is 'too close' for you?

And too close for what exactly?

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?