Photo: Darren Smith is photographed for Karen Waller’s Vulnerable exhibition to break down the myth that real men do not show emotion.
(Supplied: Karen Waller)
by Brett Williamson
In her latest exhibition, Vulnerable, Adelaide photographer Karen Waller has captured the often unseen emotional side of modern men.
Her photographs capture South Australian men dealing with the memories of grief, depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, fear, illness or old age.
“It is really important that we have these images of men, and images of men in particular who are seen to be crying, images of men who appear to be tough but also have the great strength of character to show us that they are also men who are not afraid to show us their emotion,” Ms Waller said.
Ms Waller met her first subject, Darren Smith, through a group of friends.
“I was told that he could be quite emotional and had some stories to tell around grief,” Ms Waller said.
Mr Smith sat in Ms Waller’s studio and they shared unguarded stories of their emotional past.
Wearing a dark singlet, gold chain, multiple earrings and covered in tattoos, Mr Smith was an imposing figure as he sat in the studio.
As he recalled his stories, he began to well up and shed a tear.
Ms Waller caught the image of him amidst the grip of his emotions.
“It’s a beautiful image of a man who looks really tough and who is also a man who is vulnerable,” Ms Waller said.
She was amazed by his courage to display the emotion openly and then allow her to share the image publicly.
By capturing men openly displaying their emotions, Ms Waller hopes to break down the stereotype of the stoic Australian male and openly show that real men do cry.