” ‘Maybe there is a beast….maybe it’s only us.’ “
-William Golding, Lord of the Flies (1954)
“Wild thing, you make my heart sing”
-The Troogs (1966)
Our cultural response to males behaving badly is “boys will be boys”. I often witness my two sons’ affection for aggressive play with undertones of power and violence. I’m also struck by their sensitivity, sensuality, and by their fascination with nature. As a mother, I struggle with this behavioral dichotomy, conflicted by both concern over and adoration of their wild spirit. I frequently find myself pondering essential parental questions regarding nature versus nurture.
This collection of images is presented as an observation of my sons as they play outdoors. I explore their behavior aware that my sons are emerging into a contemporary society where the staid gender norms are being challenged and certain male behaviors that we previously overlooked are now being exposed and labeled as unacceptable. I present them as individuals while looking at how their behaviors are unencumbered by awareness of the shift that is occurring around them. This visual journey documents their lives and explores the ideas of male stereotypes while providing a romantic view of the beauty inherent in the complexity of their nature, their innocence and their subsequent emergence through childhood.