PDN Photo of the Day

Boys In Dresses

“My work tends to challenge perspectives on social issues,” says Dallas-based fine art photographer Maxine Helfman. Four images from Helfman’s project depicting boys in dresses are currently on view as part of “Fresh2013,” a group show of emerging contemporary photographers that runs through August 10, 2013 at Klompching Gallery in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
Helfman’s photographs “appear to be uncomplicated – almost whimsical – studio portraits,” the gallery said in a statement about the project. “However, they bring to our attention the double meanings that emerge from something as simple as a piece of clothing,” The 6-12 year old models in “Fabrication” were cast through agencies, and were told exactly what they would be doing for the portraits – putting on girls’ dresses. Helfman combed through thrift stores and eBay to find dresses that she remembered from her youth. “They always seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable. Every boy put the dress on backwards…buttons and zippers in the back seemed to make no sense to them,” Helfman says.
“Fresh2013” is Klompching Gallery’s annual summer exhibition and also includes work from Manuel Cosentino, Peter Croteau, Priya Kambli and Chang Kyun Kim. Klompching is one of 15 galleries participating this evening in Dumbo’s First Thursday Gallery Walk and will be open until 9pm.

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Fine Art


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  1. I love the feeling here in this display of social / gender non conformity. I hope it screams to people of the contrast and hypocrisy that “tomboy” is cute and “she’ll” most likely become a future leader while a boy in a dress is just anti social and he’ll be condemned for the rest of his life if any femininity is part of “his” childhood.

  2. I would have to say you can tell by the expressions the boys were not a bit thrilled about doing this. That said it would make for a great sociology study on social norms.

  3. I know this is not popular among men, but it is time women stepped up and allowed boys their feminine expression. Sure they don’t look happy, but their attitude will change ….. they will be thanking Mommy for it soon.

  4. None of the people in any of her portraits look happy – I suppose she thinks unhappy faces are more interesting. What the point of boys wearing dresses is, is unknown – I think when visual art has to be explained, it is a failure of artistic communication.

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