Based on a poem I wrote, The Love Hart photo series, “Unravel,” stems from a desire to shed light on traditional dynamics of masculinity. In some communities, particularly black communities, from a very young age, boys are taught to brush off emotions so as not to appear weak or vulnerable, and present themselves in a way that showcases their strength and power as a man. 

As a kid, I remember numerous times being told to “man up” or having my actions compared to what society has deemed feminine characteristics. For many people, myself included, having these ideas instilled in you makes you reduce him down to one part of his identity. Growing up I often felt I had to hide many aspects of my identity and feelings to be a real man.

This photo series and poem are just visual expressions to reflect those ideas. Just wanting to unravel all these symbolic traits that a black man is traditionally taught to have is what ultimately inspired this body of work. 

The Poem:

NO.4

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THIS ORGAN NEVER GOT TO BE FRAGILE

NOR DOES THE MAN WITHIN IT

GET TO UNRAVEL

BUT TRAVEL,

TO A PLACE OF RESERVATIONS

JUST LIKE HIS PRIOR GENERATIONS,

HE HAS HESITATION 

DUE TO THE RULES AND REGULATIONS

OF WHAT IT MEANS

WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE THE ESSENCE OF HIS GENES,

SKIN THAT BEAMS

BUT QUICKLY FALLS INTO A ROUTINE

THAT IS SORT OF UNSPOKEN

A ROUTINE THAT IS UNDOUBTEDLY CORROSION

THAT SHUTS DOWN EMOTION

AND LEAVES NO ROOM FOR OPEN

BREAK HIS PATTERN AND WATCH HIS PRIDE GO SILENT

BUT SOMEHOW A FRAGILE SPINE IS DEFIANT

ABSENT HE REMAINS

SO TRUTH HE REFRAMES

BUT HE KNOWS

AND SO DOES HIS SHADOWS  

eh.

Email Eric Hart at [email protected]

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