5 August 2016

The boys who love flowers, meet the photographer countering perceptions of black masculinity

"We're constantly portrayed as these hyper-masculine objects when a lot of us aren't".

[B]randon Stanciell is a photographer we like. His portraits are challenging, beautiful and generating a much needed discourse regarding depictions of black men in the public eye – “We’re portrayed sometimes as “aggressive” and “thug” and that’s not always the case in many black communities. My concept for The Boys Who Loved Flowers is to portray a more sensitive side of black men. A side most people aren’t familiar with. The flowers help communicate a more calm setting and their bright colors bring the viewers attention to the subject”

We caught up with Brandon to ask why he likes flowers and what he plans to do next.

Follow him on Instagram @themanwholovedflowers, Twitter @valley_hoodlum, and his portfolio is here: heretakethese.us. Catch his show in Santa Monica on August 19th.

How do you think concepts of hyper-masculinity can be addressed through photography? What do you think the benefits of this is?

I think concepts like photographing men with flowers and less masculine settings really helps address the whole hyper-masculine outlook on men. It helps break down this stereotypical mindset people have a black men as well. We’re constantly portrayed as these hyper-masculine objects when a lot of us aren’t. If we can see this positive approach in different types of media then it can benefit us all as whole.

Why do you think flowers can bring joy and comfort to people?

It’s something i’ve witnessed. I shoot my portraits on a blank wall in Downtown LA, a block away from skid-row which is infamous for its homeless people and i’ll constantly have people walk by and comment on how “beautiful what I’m doing is” and that “it’s so nice to see that I’m doing such a positive thing” and sometimes i’ll give flowers to them and as they receive them and say thank you; you can see the smile on their face…most people.

What kind of artists inspire you the most and what photograph do you think has had the strongest impact on you?

Artists by the likes of Henri Matisse and photographer Malick Sidibe’s work really inspire me. I see so many photographs and create so many photographs a day, it’s hard to tell what’s had the strongest impact on me haha.

What would be the best thing that could happen to you before the summer ends?

If I could get my work in a gallery outside of California I’d cry. I’ve never traveled anywhere outside of California.

Other than photography what mediums do you find bring you peace

I’ve always wanted to paint. I find it somewhat relieving and peaceful for sure.