Boys With Flowers
Francesco Lo Castro x Valera x Dylan Thomas
‘Boys With Flowers’ is a photography series, presenting a revised model of the outdated, oftentimes one-dimensional, portrait of the American male stereotype.
With the intent to depict an enlightened and sensual character study, male subjects are placed in adorned settings, filled with lush colors and various structures made of fruit and flowers and matched up by tangled electrical wiring. Through the use of fauna in contrast with technology, an evolving archetype is framed, growing more nuanced and multi-faceted in disposition, yet ever impeded by a struggle to break free from the shackles of social norm and pigeonholes of the day.
This soft interplay of a hard-edged profile and tender natural beauty marks an interesting duality that works as both a way to desexualize the subjects as well as to present a sense of intended naturalness. Expounding on Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, where the flower represents the aim to de-sensualize the erotic experience of the work, BWF uses flowers to fully disassociate the figures from sexualization upon first impression. The viewer is challenged to see the male as a boundless emotional and sensual creature free from gender-specific predispositions.
By observing these men in seemingly disparate situations, accentuated by choice of clothing or even exposure of the nude physique, we get a glimpse of a rather unexplored and certainly undervalued side of men: The inherent ability to freely manifest playfulness, awkwardness, emotional vulnerability and embrace sexual expression; which must not be seen as impediments, but qualities that, when taken in context, dare no longer stay subdued. Fully actualized, such qualities only serve to enhance and complete the portrait of the emancipated 21st century man.