'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson

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‘BOYS’ by Rosie Matheson: A Photobook Exploring Boyhood and Masculinity

Three years ago Rosie Matheson started her own photography project, dubbed ‘BOYS’, which the entire world is talking about. Filled with portraits of young men, ‘BOYS’ shows masculinity from a refreshing perspective. Not only did the time and effort invested result in a book, but also a short documentary, merch and an exhibition in London followed. We honestly had never heard of this inspiring artist before, but from now on she’s on our radar.

Scroll down to find out who Rosie Matheson is and how ‘BOYS’ came to life.

BOYS is a long-term project launched by Rosie Matheson. In 2015, the back then flourishing UK-based photographer started taking portraits of young guys she crossed paths with. The aim was to document how young men express themselves physically and emotionally in their everyday lives. Still figuring out her style of photography, Rosie regularly went for a walk with the guys, two rolls of film and began taking portrait shots of the young men. Here we are, three years later and Rosie photographed over 100 guys from Brighton, Cape Town, Paris, Los Angeles, Manchester, Hawaii, London and other places she traveled to.

What once was “just a hobby” became an ongoing series of photos for her book. Matheson herself describes it as “an exploration of boyhood and masculinity”. Although Matheson unveiled her BOYS exhibition in London’s Black & White building on July 27 and dropped a short documentary made by filmmaker Kaj Jeffries, the photographer trusts she will continue working on this project.

'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson

Challenging the idea of masculinity

Men go through the same things, and peer pressure is one of them. Family, friends, colleagues and so on, all pressure them to be “real men”. Which affects them in different ways, some guys will adopt macho behavior to hide their insecurities, while others do it to prove something to someone they want to impress. And we all have a friend or two who fits this description.

In the course of her project, Rosie made it her mission to capture guys showing their vulnerable side for a change. Realness, comfort, empathy, openness and sensitivity is what she got in return.

With this photobook, Rosie is challenging the relationship between males and the idea of masculinity pressured by society. In an interview with DAZED she says:

“I feel, a lot of the time, when you talk to a man on their own they are very empathetic, open, and sensitive to their feelings and others. However, in a friendship environment it’s like they have something to prove; everyone is trying to prove their masculinity to each other. Everyone’s environment and upbringing really shape a person – particularly the parents. Everyone deserves the freedom and respect to be who they want to be, and that actually beneath the facade, these boys are all emotional, sensitive, and loving. This should be pushed way more as these shouldn’t be strictly female-associated traits.”

Think more like Rosie

No matter where or how we were raised, we all have views and opinions that were formed partly due to indoctrination while growing up. Education plays a big part in this too. However, the more we engage in inspiring projects like this, the more we can all challenge the way we think about certain things. Because with everything happening now, we do need to look at masculinity from a refreshing perspective.

Even though her book is sold out, we are definitely looking forward to seeing more interesting work from Rosie Matheson. Scroll down to see some of the pictures from the BOYS series.

'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson
'BOYS' by Rosie Matheson

Follow Rosie’s updates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Photography by Rosie Matheson.

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