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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Jennifer Folsom

SPE Member since 2017
Member Chapter: Southwest


For the past year, I have engaged in the multi-faceted world of online dating. It is a process heavily reliant on first impressions made through the viewing of self curated imagery. My fascination of the sheer amount of media and content shared , compelled me to document, collect and categorize everything involved from images of my encounters to screen capture of profiles and downloads of text threads. This voyeur/exhibitionist duality that I shared with the others in the online dating world began to reveal some very interesting patterns. Men who shared numerous images also tended to share extremely vulnerable stories. The act of a nude selfie often opened a door to intimacy in an unexpected way. In sharing we connected, and often began conversations that removed the armor we carry.

In this spirit, I began asking men to pose for me nude, before they even sent me anything. I recreated my dating profiles with the specific intent not to date, but to make nude images and collect stories. The response has been overwhelming at times, indicating a very real need for men to be seen and to be heard. More than just a flip of the male gaze, my work aims to see men as women see them, some tender, some sexual, some with a giggle, and bear witness to the stories that they seldom tell but desperately need to share.

In creating the images, my goal is to capture authentic, intimate moments in the spirit of the early documentary work I was creating for this project. Several of my subjects are eager to continue and create several iterations and scenes. The more subjects I capture, the more I learn not only about myself and how I feel about being the voyeur, but also the nature of male/female interactions how attraction, power and freedom all play into the relationships we build with each individual.

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