Joseph Maida‘s recent project, “New Natives,” addresses identity, gender, and sexuality through a very specific and relatively unexplored subject matter: male models of Hawaii. “While the photographs are literally of aspiring male models whom I scout through social media, they are about ‘otherness’ and broader issues at the forefront of current conversations in art and politics,” Maida tells PDN via e-mail. Hawaii’s rich history with both Eastern and Western influences is apparent while looking at each subject. “I began this project shortly after President Obama’s election in 2008 to explore how we’ve reconsidered conventional categorical assignments and traditional hierarchies at the beginning of the 21st century.”
For each portrait, the model chooses his wardrobe, his pose and the location where he wants to be photographed. There are no specific guidelines for what he should wear or how he should present himself; he is only encouraged to select a spot off the beaten path, away from “town” as the urban center of Honolulu is called. Following the photo session, he enumerates his personal background. This autobiographical description, along with his given name, serves as his portraitʼs title. –Courtesy of Daniel Cooney Fine Art
“New Natives” is currently on display at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York City through November 2, 2013.