SOMETIMES CONCEPTS DON’T HAVE TO BE VERY COMPLICATED TO BE INTERESTING. TO BRING THE BEST OUT OF THE SUBJECTS PARTICIPATING. ALL IT NEEDS IS A BIT OF MOTIVATION AND CREATIVITY. THE MAN PROJECT IS SUCH A CONCEPT. A PICTORIAL COLLECTION OF MEN IN SITUATIONS OR SET UPS OF WHAT MAKES THEM THINK MAKES THEM A MAN. IT CAN BE ANYTHING, REALLY. AND IT IS MOST PERSONAL. AND THAT IS WHAT CAN MAKE IT SO SURPRISING. ENOUGH EVEN TO POSSIBLY TURN IT INTO A BOOK.
Jeff Lynch is a 28 years old choreographer living in Chicago, IL. He was born and raised on the east coast, in northern New Jersey and Albany, and spent his formative years in Cincinnati, OH. Here he attended Northwestern University, where he graduated with a BA in theatre, focusing on dance and choreography. Jeff loves exploring masculinity through dance and has done so since college with concert dance and movement theatre pieces, and now mostly burlesque.
Jeff Lynch’s life revolves around the shows he produces, directs and choreographs. The largest show he directs and choreographs is called “Night of 100 Drag Queens”, a benefit for Equality Illinois at Sidetrack. Because of that show, he gets to work with drag queens year round, staging numbers for competitions and benefits, and he love every second of it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he produces and choreographs an all-male burlesque show called “FurrLesque”, featuring men of all shapes and sizes. FurrLesque travels to pride events around Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It is the vehicle for Arcas Productions, which he started in 2011 to promote a healthy male body image through theatre and dance. This summer, Jeff will be staging his first opera, for the Bellingham Festival of Music, in Washington, and, as he was raised with opera, he hopes to stage many more after that.
Hector Rodriguez is a photographer who lives and works in Miami, Florida. It his here where he conceived his The Man Project, a project in which he places his models in front of his camera with the request to show him what they think makes them a man. Hector has been shooting for a while now and his colourful photography has not gone by unnoticed. Recently publishing house Bruno Gmünder has published a blank book with an image by Hector for the cover which definitely will get his name out there. One might think it is a prelude to a bigger work, maybe inspired by The Man Project.
In addition to promoting a healthy male body image, Jeff Lynch promotes a healthy male sexuality, and works to combat our culture’s strict censorship of the male body while diffusing the shame we as gay men are made to feel about our sex lives. Hector Rodriguez’ The Man Project is something he can relate to because of his work promoting and exploring masculinity in theatre and dance. “Too often, men are portrayed in one way only, and our concepts of masculinity and attractiveness are narrow and, ultimately, damaging,” Jeff explains. “In dance, men are too often feminized, forced to be thin and move like women. On stage, especially in the gay community, men must be hairless and have six packs and excellent definition. But not all men are built that way, and so I’m all about embracing our own genetic restrictions and bodies. No body is perfect, all bodies are beautiful!” –BM-
HECTOR RODRIGUEZ | BEAUTIFULMAG
JEFF LYNCH | BEAUTIFULMAG