Variable Embrace

Duration: 19m18s
Interview with Dale and Mr. X
Houston, Texas, 2019

A looks into the hidden lives of men who are attracted to men from the perspective of young adults—the admirer—drawn to older men—the admired. These relationships are often referred to as May-December, Intergenerational, or Age Disparate.

Variable Embrace uses photography and audio as a sociological meditation on nuances within contemporary masculinity. Factors of religion, tradition, or status-quo tell us that men should not be sexually attracted to other men, while the lives men actually live seem to differ from those values. While observing masculinity, we find that many heterosexually married men, or those who identify as straight, have discrete homoerotic tendencies. We also find that a young man's attraction to the old is not as uncommon as some would believe.

The title Variable Embrace here represents an aspiration, an embrace of the varying aspects of the human being. In other ways, it is a wish to overcome the strife that the expected heterosexuality of all peoples has caused throughout society. The apparent links between repressed sexuality and violence are striking, and can not be overlooked.

Perhaps my project can prompt normalcy for loving, romantic relationships between young and old men, or between men in general. These images may also increase the ripple effect of acceptance for LGBTQ+ peoples globally, whether those people identify with such labels or not. Invariably, Variable Embrace represents a tender and often unseen beauty in male figures.

All Prints
128x90cm (~46x37in)
Archival Cotton Paper
Editions of 3

Statement: March 2020
- j. bilhan


© 2020
Houston, Texas