This portrait of Joe, a young man I met in passing one evening in my home town, asks the viewer to explore traditional notions of sexuality and attraction. It was shot using natural light in a way that aimed to accentuate his sublime and gentle beauty. The very direct look to camera aims to draw the viewer in and forces their attention on his features, in particular the mouth and eyes.
I have always been drawn to people whose physical presentation and appearance epitomised such epicene beauty as previously celebrated in classical antiquity. Until very recently however, the rules of physical attraction were innately bound up with relatively binary definitions of sexuality and the unambiguous beauty associated with either the clearly masculine or the clearly feminine. Of course, preferences for both have always prevalent though far less understood or celebrated. This is changing of course and in addition new terms such as pan-sexual have started to acknowledge a much less constrained notion of physical attraction, perhaps even less connected with physical appearance and much freer in its interpretation of the rules of attraction.
It’s partly as a result of finding and photographing individuals with a beauty so utterly natural and androgynous as to make their masculine gender almost irrelevant (to my attraction to them), that I have come to acknowledge what I have suspected for a while now.
I am (almost certainly) bi-sexual.
I say ‘almost certainly’ because I have never actually put this notion to a practical test and coming to this realisation at this point in life does rather the limit the opportunity to undertake that kind of exploration. But the realisation and acknowledgement does rather help explain a number of things, in particular, the nature of some friendships that otherwise went awry. Perhaps the awryness was the result of that friendship beginning to feel like something more and the subsequent disengagement (on my part), was a way of avoiding a more difficult reality.
This isn’t really a big deal although I am well aware I just ‘outed’ myself. For now, at least, my contentment lies in knowing that people like Joe exist. That they have the potential to throw even the most previously staunchly heterosexual man into a maelstrom of sexual desire (and of course temptation), is both fun and deeply appealing.