How would you like to be photographed naked and hung on a wall for the world to see? Gay men are renown in Sydney for being body conscious, body aware or even body fascist. Rod Spark, in his latest exhibition, puts to bed some of these myths and realities by stripping a group of Sydney gay men back to basics. Quite literally.
Davo Hardy, film director and My Reality participant, is not shy about getting his kit off. He’s been working as a part-time life model for the past ten years, but wanted to move beyond the charcoal and into full colour, free from artistic interpretation and to be honestly portrayed as he is.
“This was challenging for me, even with my ‘undraped’ experience, as it is intensely personal to see your bits on a wall where everyone can see you both as you present to the world, in clothes, and then in all your vulnerability. I’m one of the youngest in the exhibition and we’re all putting ourselves out in the public eye with names, faces and everything else,” says Hardy.
But does stripping away the facade of clothing reveal our true selves or is it still a construction?
“My goal is to show the full range of men and body types of men who identity as either gay or least occasionally same-sex attracted. Old, young, muscular, overweight, underweight – we are all valued,” says photographer and artist, Rod Spark. “The work is presented as a typology of men’s bodies in two parts. Clothed as you would present yourself in everyday life and naked. It’s challenging, sexy and above all shows the truth in all of us.”
The images were shot over two afternoons with about 30 men at each event, which was designed as a party event and space for social inclusion. Rod, and his life partner David, hosted two house parties and photographic event simultaneously so that participants could meet, mingle and socialise and understand that body diversity is the norm. Remove those external layers and do we still now show more of our true self or is it still a construction?
Rod Spark has been photographing Sydney’s gay and lesbian event scene for over two decades and this is his first solo exhibition since graduating from UNSW Art & Design with a Masters in Art (Photomedia).
My Reality. Embodied Diversity
LOSTspace Gallery, 48 Little Oxford Street, Sydney
Exhibition continues to 22 August 2015
For more information, visit: www.lostspace.com.au for details.
Image: My Reality. Embodied Diversity