'Women cry, men get angry.'
The very notion is still a common core stereotype of both men and woman, an accepted course of emotions which anything otherwise is perceived as odd, unbecoming or unfit of the individual.
Photographer Sam Taylor Wood's series 'Crying Men' captures a range of male Hollywood actors exposed in various states of emotional breakdown. Men who are icons admired by many for their talent and success where their fame has granted them a meaning far greater than their physical presence, are exposed and reduced to tears. Their grief has a powerful gripping influence that perhaps could not be achieved with any anonymous individual. Such actors include Laurence Fishburne, Paul Newman and Daniel Craig, all of which Wood claims that each experience was truly unique where ‘some shook with grief, others quietly wept and Laurence Fishburne couldn’t stop himself crying.’
The fact that Wood’s subjects are actors makes one question the authenticity of their emotions. Yet in such a personal manner you cannot help but feel that they are fully exposed, that they are not playing a role but are in actual grief, which begs the question – what is going through their minds as they cry?
These icons of our modern society who express such deep human sorrow make us aware of our own grief connecting to each of us in a unique and personal way. We are confronted with such raw emotions of grief that perhaps it also begins to question the identity of men and their perceived roles in society.
I find Wood's series most intriguing as it demonstrates portraiture capturing raw emotions of sorrow not often associated with males, where the focus is in the expression of the inner self rather than on notions of power, wealth and status being particularly apparent in the renaissance period.