Birmingham photographer on mission to challenge negative male body stereotypes
A Birmingham photographer has launched a project to make everyday men feel good about their bodies.
In a bid to make men feel more confident in front of the camera and more comfortable in their own skin, Gary Lindsay-Moore is launching the “Dudeoir Experience”, using his professional photography skills to allow guys to reclaim their body pride in a world where they’re constantly bombarded with negative narratives on how a man should look.
Similar to their female counterparts, many men are today under nearly as much pressure as women to have so-called ‘perfect looks’, making them feel more body conscious than ever before.
Whether through social media, television reality shows or men’s magazines, the average male is being judged against male models with washboard abs, bulging muscles, perfect hairlines and square jaws.
For more and more men the results can and do affect their mental health, developing a dislike for their own body and lack of confidence to stand in front of a camera.
In some cases, the pressure pushes men to attempt to achieve a physique that is forever beyond reach. This can lead to body dysmorphia, a mental health condition which makes individuals constantly worry about tiny flaws in their appearance that are often oblivious to those around them.
In the shadow of societal pressures shaping how bodies are supposed to perceived, body shaming and unrealistic beauty ideals are on the rise, with an increase in men struggling with depression and self-esteem issues.
Millions of men in the UK have struggled with body image issues according to findings published by the Mental Health Foundation. Almost three in ten adult men (28%) aged 18 and above have felt anxious because of body perception according to the survey findings, carried out last year to assess the impact of body image on people in the UK.
One in five (21%) said concerns about body image had caused them to dress in a way that hid their body or parts of their body in the last year, while one in five (22%) male respondents said they had negatively compared themselves to others because of body image in the last year.
More than one in ten of the men surveyed (11%) have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings because of body image issues and 4% of male respondents also said they had deliberately hurt themselves because of body image issues.
Photographer Gary Lindsay-Moore hopes his “Dudeoir Experience” will allow men to embrace their bodies in front of the camera, wrinkles and scars, in a safe, caring, inclusive and welcoming environment; bringing out their own individual personality either in a studio or on location.
Gary – who himself regularly embraces his physical appearance through photography – encourages clients to be themselves and feel comfortable in their clothing, whatever they choose to wear or not wear:
“I know from first-hand experience what it is like to be trolled on social media and called ‘fat and ugly’ by a total stranger, it can really erode your confidence.”
“As an actor and mature model I have experienced what it is like on both sides of the camera. I want to break down barriers and give something that is completely individual to the client, not the same old tried and tested studio set up every time, we are all individual.”
The 59-year-old has honed his craft over 35 years through creative projects, portraits, funerals, events and live music. His early career saw him assist the famous people photographer Sandra Lousada who has photographed the likes of Steven Berkoff and Vanessa Redgrave.
“Sandra taught me indispensable techniques to get better pictures than the usual. And, as a father of a special-needs son, I know how to read people well, make them feel safe and confident.”
Gary’s existing professional photography already attracts interest from a diverse range of communities including heterosexual to LGBT+ audiences, and he is hopeful that the launch of his new initiative will promote wellbeing and help clients feel proud of who they are.
As well as his Dudeoir Experience, Gary also works with terminally ill clients and their families, providing a sensitive and caring approach to their photoshoot. He has also donated his services free of charge to a local hospice.
Gary has enjoyed two solo exhibitions, the first showcasing his well-known photography of urban Birmingham and Bad Wonderland depicting the darker side of Alice in Wonderland.
For more information about the Dudeoir Experience project, visit: www.garylindsaymoorephotography.co.uk