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encounter humanities.

Being Man.
Art Exhibition

Experiencing a moment of time in a mans life through pictures.


By: Ali Melcher Photographs taken by: Ali Melcher and Bradley Willis

As once creatures of instinct, driven by nothing more than our most purest and primal desires, the human race has certainly made an about face. We have become animals of practice and learned behaviors building barricades and borders around ourselves making sure we never step foot outside of the realm of acceptable behavior. Acceptable by whose standards? Thats the problem, because there is no clear answer. One of these conventions that we have come to understand as completely normal is the assignment of gender roles and identities written by a society that demands we uphold them without opposition and instills fear of rejection if we show resistance. So, how do we come to define a man? Is it measured by the amount of success and money he achieves throughout the course of his life? Is it by the quality of the family he creates and his ability to provide sufficiently for them? Or, perhaps, its simply determined by the sheer masculinity of his strength, will and power to control the world around him. The world we live in today has made sure that the transition into manhood comes fully stocked with responsibility to full fill the many roles a man is expected to play. Man is told to stifle is true, primal nature in order to live peacefully and free amongst his fellow man. Are pictures worth a thousand unspoken words? Through these photographs, one man will be depicted in a moment of his life when he is at the threshold of figuring out exactly who he needs to be.

fearless.
January 9, 2011.

The ultimate test of man is his ability to laugh in the face of danger.

refined.
January 12, 2011

Society demands that he keeps up a certain appearance; a specific persona. He is expected to eventually grow up and be accountable for all of his adult actions.

capable.
January 12, 2011

Man is believed to hold the world in his hands. So, what if he cant do something, or achieve a goal, or reach a destination in his life? Does that inevitably reflect who is as a man or lack there of?

controlled.

January 14, 2011


He is told to have complete control over himself; his body, his mind and most importantly, he must master his emotions.

composed.
January 14, 2011

No matter what, he must never lose his cool. He must stay completely in control of his life. He is allowed certain vices, but they should never dominate him.

contemporary.
January 14, 2011

He must uphold the most valued traditions with the upmost respect, however, stay in the now and adapt to an ever evolving society that is slowing pushing those traditions further to the side.

content.
January 14, 2011

Man must accept his role of leadership and power. He should not ever reflect on a better life somewhere and instead, create it for himself.

strong.
January 22, 2011

Mentally sound. His mind is pulsing with endless potential. His thoughts, ideas and finally, his voice can change the world overnight. Can he always handle the pressure?

even stronger.
January 23, 2011

If nothing else, he must remain physically strong. When all is said and done, the strongest will survive as the weak wither away. Evolution creates this notion and society listens.

free.
February 4, 2011
How free can a man be with reigns in his mouth? He must not ever stop pushing forward or accept no for an answer. His world should be limitless

yet, inhibited.
February 12, 2011

but he must always obey the rules set forth and remember to never stray too far from those constraints.

unaffected.
March 4, 2011

Determined and focused. What he wants, he will get and no outside influence will stop him, right?

aware.
March 11, 2011

He is acutely alert, attentive and rather receptive to his surroundings, keeping himself at a necessary distance as to not get caught off guard.

bold.
March 12, 2011

Courageous. Unafraid, he will take the steps forward that need to be taken, when times are difficult and especially when the conditions are unbearable.

clever.

March 22, 2011


Mans intelligence, wit and popularity are an essential role to his survival. Should he find himself unwanted and alone, he will not last long.

secure.
March 22, 2011
His self-esteem must be unshakable. His manhood is his most powerful weapon.

resilient.
April 3, 2011

Man must stay willing and irrepressible.

dreamer.
April 13, 2011

Man must remain grounded and realistic but never lose sight of the capabilities he possesses. He must always think out of the box but never destroy that box.

provider.
April 20, 2011

Physically, emotionally, financially. The burden is his to carry.

best friend.
April 25, 2011

The relationships he develops will be a defining characteristic of his said manhood. How well can he play with others? How much influence can he project?

Lover.

May 1, 2011

Now, its time he finds his mate for life; a significant other to conquer the world with. Behind every great man is a woman making him strong. It will be assumed something is wrong with him should he remain unattached in his later years.

protector.
May 15, 2011

If he does not keep the ones he loves safe, who will?

father, son.
May 21, 2011
And, then, there are those most certain moments of a mans life when he never feels more vulnerable. Everyone is born into an automatic role of son or daughter and from day one we are heavily influenced to pursue that assigned gender role. However, any person can create a baby, but, perhaps, it really does take a man to be a father.

Works Cited

ELIZABETH THYRUM, et al. "GENDER, GENDER ROLE, AND CREATIVITY." Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal 39.3 (2011): 425-432. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 July 2011.
Excell, Laurie. Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots. Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 2011 Genders and Gender Understanding in Relationship Web.

ERYILMAZ, Ali, and Hasan ATAK. "Investigation of Starting Romantic Intimacy in Emerging Adulthood in terms of Self-Esteem, Gender and Gender Roles." Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice 11.2 (2011): 595-600. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 July 2011.Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 8, 2011.
Pachankis, John E., Lea R. Dougherty, and J. Lee Westrnaas. "The Influence of Sexual Orientation and Masculinity on Young Men's Tobacco Smoking." Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 79.2 (2011): 142-152. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 July 2011. Strong, Bryan, Christine Devault and Theodore F. Cohen. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2010.