March 14, 2014

Catherine Johnson-Roehr Reviews “She Shoots Men”

Catherine Johnson-Roehr reviews Vivienne Maricevic's photo book "She Shoots Men."

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Catherine Johnson-Roehr is the Curator of Art, Artifacts, and Photographs at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University.

Vivienne Maricevic has been photographing men since the 1970s, not in a studio but in their own environments–living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, or more public places. She encourages her models to participate actively in the shoot, to use the session as an opportunity to explore long imagined fantasies or to enjoy a safe, though solo, sexual experience. Her intention, however, is not to become physically involved with these men, but to produce photographs that support her assertion that the male body deserves the same respect as a subject for fine art that the female form has been given for millennia.

When she began this project, she was one of the very few female artists to choose the male body as her primary subject matter. Even today, it is more common for photographers to choose female models, as images of unclothed women continue to be more easily accepted by galleries and mainstream audiences than depictions of full frontal male nudity.

Vivienne Maricevic has been shooting men for four decades, but she is not ready to put away her camera. Although her ambition to bring male nudes to a level of acceptance and appreciation matching their female counterparts may not yet to be fully realized, her photographs provide convincing evidence that the male body is a suitable subject for fine art photography. For the many men who revealed themselves to Maricevic, the experience proved that, regardless of their level of fitness, physical attractiveness, or age, they were worthy participants in the creation of art.