The dominant representation of men in current visual communications depicts a muscular, virile, white, heterosexual individual. In fewer words, an alpha male.
Through his thought-provoking series Immaculate, American photographer John Edmonds challenges this model portraying “black, brown and queer bodies” as “icons of ideal beauty, love and desire”.
As an image maker, I am interested in photography that addresses the social, political and theoretical ideas of the time and medium. My work builds upon the tradition of artists who are concerned with the absence of black, brown and queer bodies in the cannon of art history. Confronting my preconceptions of race, masculinity, class and sexuality, I photograph men in my own community to address these intersecting complicities in the series Immaculate.
Immaculate refers to the doctrines of Immaculate Conception and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These photographs explore and examine the internal and external violence that is implicated through the bodies of men on the margins of society, and challenge the mainstream, erotic and hyper masculine representations of feared black and brown bodies. Placed in intimate spaces and contexts that challenge the gaze of the sitter, I am interested in these subjects as icons of ideal beauty, love and desire.
— John Edmonds