‘Here Among the Flowers’ is an exploration of the Jungian concept of the ‘Anima’, the unconscious, internal feminine side of a man. It aims to offer a more positive portrayal of men and challenge the collective perception of masculinity in the post ‘Me Too’ world.
Full development of the Anima represents the emergence of a man’s emotional openness and sensitivity, and helps create a new conscious paradigm of creativity, empathy and sensitivity towards others. As such it is something to be celebrated and perhaps regarded as an antidote to the concept of 'toxic masculinity'.
But men face significant challenges in the development of their Anima. We are conditioned from a young age to supress our vulnerability and hide our sensitivity. We are coerced to compete in a social dominance hierarchy and our value to society is judged by our success in this arena. At each stage in our development, the risks associated with showing fear, doubt and uncertainty weigh increasingly heavily on the male psyche, and our chance to be seen positively by society is eroded.
I ask subjects to remove their shirt and pose among the flowers and foliage. This removal of the shirt is designed to both enhance a strong masculine presentation while at the same time increase the subject’s sense of vulnerability. Locating this archetype among a more visually feminine environment offers a pictorial representation of the Anima and asks the viewer to reappraise the way they decode, interpret and judge the masculine.