This project 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. What can also be understood as gerontophilia, or a sexual attraction to the elderly.
    "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 differ from those values. While observing masculinity, we also 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 tolerance for LGBTQ+ peoples globally, whether those people identify with such labels or not. Regardless of the sociological aspects, the project represents a tender and often unseen beauty in male figures.


View exhibition photos from ‘Body A’

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j. bilhan © 2020