Artist Chad States has taken a series of photos of "Men At Their Most Masculine," and the results are actually both charming and thought-provoking.
The title of States's project initially gave me pause — modern meditations on masculinity often go the mountain-lion-wrestling route, and who needs yet another reinforcement of gender essentialism anyway? I'd be similarly skeptical of a photo series titled "Women At Their Most Feminine." But States's photographs are interesting and often sweet, and his interview in The Morning News is thoughtful and smart (watch out: the opening page of the interview is fine, but if you click through the slideshow you will see some dick). First of all, he's not necessarily a gender essentialist. Of the Craigslist ad he used to solicit subjects, he says,