In a new project titled ‘Nin’, the Somali word for “men”; photographer Amin McDonald tackles the issue of over-masculinization in London popular culture.
The collection aims to represent masculinity through showing the loneliness and vulnerability of a singular subject. Striking is McDonald’s decision to stray away from the trend of using glitter and flowers to redefine masculinity in creative work, rather he chooses to zoom close into his male subject and him alone.
When we asked him why he chose to shoot such visually dark imagery, Amin tell us “I wanted people to focus on the detail of the subject. Usually I love a background that's as mesmerizing as the portrait but I wanted to do something simple but also very relevant. The dark background was meant to represent this flat dark landscape that you usually see as this "canvas" when you're thinking or when you close your eyes. That's the place where I feel your thoughts are processed.”
Speaking of his body of work, Mcdonald says “I wanted to really talk about the side of men that a lot of them are afraid to show to the world because they feel as if the community/culture/society that they're surrounded by will think less of them.”
It’s no news that men have the highest suicide rate in the UK as pressures of patriarchy disallow them from properly dealing with issues and insecurities. Accordingly, Amin chose to portray his muse Nathan “as a sensitive and nervous character which is what a lot of men really are at the core.”
‘Nin’ aims to enforce the concept that being a man and also being vulnerable are not mutually exclusive and the two things can and should intercept for a true definition of manhood.
“I want people to feel a sense of balance. I would love it if people would look at the images and realize this is a lot more serious than we think. In black and white the connection between you and the subject is bolder, you skip straight to the idea and what it's about, rather than the colourful visuals. It's not about his colour or the backgrounds colour, it's about the man and how he loves himself.”
See more of Amin's work here