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Mark Troyer | Photographer | Dichotomous



Project Statement

dichotomy |dīˈkätəmē|
a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely
different : a rigid dichotomy between science and mysticism.

dichotomous |dīˈkätəməs|
exhibiting or characterized by dichotomy : a dichotomous view of the world.

It is in my nature to question authority, to have a deep interest in issues of justice. I watch for and question ideas, cultural norms, group dynamics, censorship, etc. where what appears to be happening makes no sense when looked at objectively, or appears to be set up in a way that benefits those creating the rules while hurting others.

In our current cultural and political climate there is a war raging over the fundamental rights of women in our society. All of the great gains that have been made over the last few decades are under attack by old men of privilege, and the only reason I can see for it is fear. Fear of losing control, fear of becoming irrelevant, fear of being exposed for the bigots and misogynists that they are. Most of all there is a fear of womens’ sexuality, highlighted by the fervent attacks on birth control. If women are able to determine their own reproduction where does that leave these old men? They want to continue to think of women as property, with reproduction as a commodity that they control.

This fear of womens’ sexuality is accompanied by a desire to hold up the female form as the ideal. There are some historical exceptions, but in art, photography, film and other media the female form is the accepted subject for the nude while the male form is shunned, feared. A nude woman in a movie will cause it to be given an R rating. A similar scene with a nude man will cause the filmmaker to be fighting against an NC-17 rating. It seems that this patriarchy that is afraid of women yet desires to see them is also afraid of the male body, their own body.

This is dichotomous.

In this work I’m confronting that dichotomy by presenting images of female and male nudes photographed in the same location and in the same pose, forcing you the viewer to question whether you prefer to look at one form over the other, and why. Forcing you to contemplate whether you are uncomfortable or even afraid of one of the images while interested or drawn to the other. And hopefully causing you to rethink the attitudes you’ve been carrying with you.