About Face is a photography-based, anthropological exploration of diversity in an Australian male context. Between 2011 and 2012, men from all walks of life were invited to be photographed and to share their experiences and thoughts on a range of topics from multiculturalism to racism, sexualities to (dis)abilities and beyond. The resulting collection of photographic narratives aims to provoke thought and discussion on the many under-acknowledged issues that persist in contemporary Australian culture. In doing so, it hopes to show how people who might otherwise seem to occupy incompatible social circles can come together and recognize the underlying humanity that binds us together and, at the same time, appreciate the uniqueness that makes us all special.
In the spirit of encapsulating the notion of commonality and uniqueness, this book contains 41 portraits that are both as similar as they are different. Water and a bathroom setting are used as connecting twin themes throughout. Why water? Because it has a universal significance, as one of the fundamental building blocks of life, that transcends all cultural boundaries. And while water is found in a variety of everyday activities, a bathroom setting is chosen due to its inherently private nature, thereby affording an infinitely more intimate glimpse into the subject’s personal lives. It is in these private moments that the style of photography is carefully mobilized in order to capture a real sense of each individual, balancing the contradiction of sameness and uniqueness in the same image.
The project is ultimately about togetherness. Perhaps when we finally realize that the once foreign “other” isn’t as strange as we first thought it to be, we will be able to embrace our differences and relish our collective experiences.