Last week, immediately after the opening reception for the Asbury Park Firefighters 2010 Calendar, I was invited by Richard Virgilio to accompany him to the Stone Pony, where he would sell calendars and I would take photos, some of which I would offer him to publish in The Coaster. The photos below are not the ones I offered him! The centerpiece of the entertainment at this bear and leather community party was a live photo shoot by Joe Oppedisano, which is part of his project “Uncensored.”
I’m considering adding one of these photos to my body of work, “Mask-ulinity,” but I’m not yet sure how and if it would fit at this stage in the project. These photos are different.
Thus far in the body of work, most of the photos are taken within a public context, whether at the beach or on the street. It is often within these public spaces that men’s masks are revealed. The men who are the subjects of the photos are usually anonymous, allowing me greater objectivity. In order to reveal the mask, the individual must be at the point of being unmasked. There must be a tension held between his true identity and the role that he is playing.
The men at the RIDE party, however, are performing, and it’s unclear to me if they’re wearing performance masks, or if they’re able to perform because they’ve removed their everyday masks. It makes me think that we each have multiple masks that we can use as tools in different situations, and we can switch between them instantly. This adds a new dimension to my project which I hope will deepen and strengthen it as I find ties between these new photos and the existing ones, and use the new knowledge in moving forward.