Nir Arieli is a photographer from Tel Aviv, who moved to New York right after I finished his mandatory military service in Israel, where he serves as a staff photographer of the military’s magazine. Later on, he got a scholarship to the School of Visual Arts and did my BFA there. His work has been displayed in galleries worldwide and it’s totally worth your attention.
“While photographing for the military I realized that I was less interested in the heroic classical masculine image but I was more interested in what I called “the in-between moments” when the soldiers were resting or just waking up and emotionally unguarded. When I was in school, I remembered these moments and decided to look for them in young men, and to make a point that being vulnerable is beautiful and legitimate, to men as much it is for women,” shared the artist when reached out by Earthwonders.
One of his recent series Men, speaks up about gender norms and the role they play in our society. We are raised with a set of differentiates between genders. Focusing on boys only this time, the photographer highlights the stereotypes they’re raised throughout their lives. Boys don’t cry, don’t play with dolls, don’t wear dresses or heels. This great, inspirational shoot empowers men to embrace their feminine side.
“I like to think that my main inspiration comes from dance and dancers. Dancers, and particularly male dancers, have been the focus of my work for years and I learned to love and understand the complexities of this art form while shaping my own style of what I like. Some dancers that inspire me I tend to get back to for different projects, and some choreographers teach me about athletics and styles. To drop some names, I love contemporary powerful female choreographers such as Sharon Eyal, Crystal Pite, and Aszure Barton,” added Arieli.
For his subjects, Arieli selects men who freely exhibit characteristics normally reserved for feminine territory. He tries to expose a component of masculinity that was buried in the course of human history under rigid gender conventions.
Gentleness, uncensored emotion, vulnerability – all of these became, under the influence of the social evolution, cursed and repulsive characteristics when manifested by men. The artist believes that both men and women are born with the same emotional spectrum and that we should all be allowed to feel and show it, and he hopes that by photographing these men he will look in the mirror, stand by their side and educate others.