The Huffington Post | By Katherine Brooks
“Masculinity as a socially constructed identity is not a stable entity, but one made up of conflictual and contradictory aspects.”
Those are the words of Ramsay Burt, author of The Male Dancer, and they are part of the inspiration behind Amy Elkins’ stunning photography series, “Danseur.” For the project, she captured portraits of young male dancers in Copenhagen, Denmark, moments after intensive training. The subjects, ages 12 to 28, stare purposefully at the camera or glance wistfully into the distance, projecting diverse interpretations of what it means to be a masculine athlete.
Framing the men in her images alone, basking in light, she presents both the vulnerability and strength involved in their very different portrayals of male identity. While a second year student of the Royal Danish Ballet School stands comfortably in front of Elkins’ lens, hands intertwined and a calm expression fixed on his face, an older member of Dansehallerne appears in a hypnotic state, his arm twisted around his face and his eyes tightly shut.
While “Elegant Violence” and yet another series, “Black is the Day, Black is the Night,” centered on prisoners serving life or death row sentences, focus on the hyper-masculine, “Danseur” moves to the other end of the spectrum. While it’s clear the men pictured are not only physically adept but also psychologically determined, their bodies are channeling postures and expressions not typically — or, stereotypically — matched with masculinity.
See a preview of the works below and head over to Elkins’ site for more.