Of Your Silent Presence

Creating this image with Thomas was quite moving for me. It’s about his relationship with his father who lives in Germany. In contrast to Thomas, he is a very buttoned-down, abide by the rules fellow. Thomas is different: he lives in the U.S., goes to Burning Man (as does the bike in the photo!), and hasn’t “settled down.” Despite their differences, his father is there for him and they share a strong, unspoken bond. When they talk on the phone they talk about cars and finances, like many men. But Thomas feels their relationship runs deeper, in a way that doesn’t have to be spoken. He can feel it. And even though a great distance separates them there will always be that connection.

Thomas has created a faux telegram for this shoot. Like his father before him, Thomas was drafted into the German Army against his will, and his job was communication and telegraphy. So this is a very realistic reproduction. Even when all infrastructure is broken, telegrams will still come through; tiny bits of information going through thick and thin. It’s a nice metaphor for Thomas’ invisible connection with his father. I like that it represents communication over great distances, yet not “modern” communications like email or phone.

As I shoot more of these there is something special for me in connecting with men who are able to open up and share their love about others. I strongly feel we need more men who can speak on this level, who aren’t afraid of expressing themselves and showing vulnerable sides. That, to me, is a proof of a changing definition of what it means to be a truly mature man.

Click here to see a portrait of Thomas.