The Finnish art photographer Kari Soinio questions the male identity and body in his atypical nude studies, where there are no pumped muscles or clichés of strength, virility and power. On the contrary, this male body is almost feminine with a hint of breasts and a round belly. The artist is the model himself, and the photos are thus also a kind of self-portrait reflecting on the everlasting question: who am I, or more universal, what makes a man a man?
A naked man out in the rough or seductive nature, or in an urban landscape in front of modern architecture. He is posing, but his body is not like the ones we are used to see in contemporary commercials, or the ideal male body taken from art history.
The identity question in Soinios images, as in art photography in general, seems a bit trite. Of course this is also simply due to the fact that photography is such an obvious media used to explore these types of questions within. And the nude studies in Soinios photos are furthermore not that experimental and interesting. Nevertheless, this exhibition makes an impact because of the timeliness of another raised question: The question about man’s relationship to nature and the environment.
The photographs subtly shows naturally, because of the feminine features of the body, how man does not necessarily need to conquer, but can be masculine and caring, and at the same time, physically related to the world that surrounds him, whether it is in a corn field in the US, a lake in Finland, or in front of a city’s skyline.
Additionally, the photographs make the spectators recognize the different types of landscapes, and pushes us to make our own references to previous art photography associations, and stories about this anti-hero of a man.