NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY
I remember the first time I saw the project "The Brown Sisters" from Nicholas Nixon and how obvious it was that in a certain year each sister sequentially grew old and showed signs of ageing all of a sudden. I remember returning one year to Greece to visit my parents and seeing in their faces how old they grew within the passing of just one year. I was wondering what was the switch that caused that change? What has happened that was so dramatic to reveal these signs of ageing on them?
A similar moment for me came in 2020 as I started seeing my body changing and getting older.
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
By Robert Frost 1874 – 1963
Autumn sceneries in Mount Pelion in Greece triggered the whole series as they reminded me of the poem of Robert Frost at a moment in my life where I was confronted with the observation of my own body loosing its youth and not fitting any more norms of what is "attractive", "beautiful" or "admired".
With the above verses and my own body as reference, I investigate the emotional content of growing old as a man, and trying to find beauty in that process, while being constantly bombarded by norms of beauty, appearance and behaviour that deny the natural process of ageing and perpetuate instead an over-sexualised, masculine narrative. By photographing on my own body what deviates from that narrative and comparing it to what happens normally in nature, I try to come to terms with and embrace what is normal and unavoidable.
Having already seen many of my male friends struggling with keeping up with the image of the metrosexual man, I wanted to oppose that, free myself from these stereotypes and offer a comforting resilience in getting older and remaining relevant.
The series is a discourse on body politics and is highly associative. It is meant to be seen as a personal testimony where each image is symbolic of ageing, change and insecurities conferred by the masculine stereotype. As it unfolds, it will prompt the viewer to question that narrative of sexualising the human body and re-attribute its natural form back to its representation.
© VASSILIS TRIANTIS 2020 - Ongoing