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.
It was 1964 and I was in my 4th Year at Plympton High School. I was an overweight lad who was called “Humphrey darling” (after a cartoon character) by two blond sheilas every time they saw me in the schoolyard. I would always run away.
I had already split my pants trying to vault the “wooden horse” out on the school oval and a young, fit, soon to be famous Greg Chappell (Austalian Cricket Captain) had told me to “fuck-off” in the short time that he was there!
My best friend was John Ward, who talked like a girl and walked everywhere on tippy toes.
But magic was on the horizon “The Beatles” were coming to Adelaide minus Ringo Starr.
Big “Blob” Francis (5AD Radio) had convinced Brian Epstein in 1963 to bring them here.
Paul McCartney said he would like to see Adelaide and the Plympton girls squealed with delight.
So, as the Big Day approached when they would whizz past the back of Plympton High down Anzac Highway the excitement grew and grew!
And then, the Headmaster of Plympton High School, a Mister Goldsworthy, nicknamed “Chrome Dome”, who was the spitting image of Adolph Eichmann, said “NO!”
“The Beatles are rubbish and you shouldn’t be wasting valuable study time going over to Anzac Highway!”
The student mass gasped in astonishment when the announcement was made in the middle of a dusty quadrangle.
Quickly the rebellious sheilas and the blondies organised a Strike Committee and had quickly told our balding headmaster. “Let us see the The Beatles”.
Goldsworthy relented and we saw John, George, Paul and Jimmy Nicol (Ringo’s replacement) go roaring down Anzac Highway.
One girl knocked herself out on a stobie pole in her mad chase after the Fab Three’s car.
Meanwhile, half a million people had gathered in Adelaide city to welcome the boys from Liverpool.
The Griffin Press, Marion Road, Netley was just down the road from the Old Guv in the 1970s.
At the Guv it was sneeringly referred to as “Head Office” and the big boss was a Napoleon like character known as Bryan Price. The final make up of the Griffin Press was a combination of three separate companies (I think).
They were The Griffin Press, The Craftsman Press and Vardon Price. The Griffin was owned and run by Advertiser Newspapers and the Chairman of the Board was the venerable Sir Lloyd Dumas.
Photo: Neil (The Moose) Lavender and his missus Pam on their Wedding Day.
The Advertiser was a bastion of conservatism in South Australia (and still is). But it didn’t stop them from publishing Orion Classics (pornography), Playboy and the very raunchy Hustler (Larry Flint’s rag) at Griffin Press..
I’m not sure of what year this photo was taken, probably late 1960s and I can’t see many of the Griffin Comp. Apprentices.
But I can see Bob Crane, Ron “Touch” Walters, Merv Mules (four eyes), Graham Tyler, Hank Bykker (I think) and Colin Giles.