About the Book
"Bachelor Pads" furthers May’s investigation into the representation of desirable men and the development of the “female gaze” in contemporary visual cultural. In this recent project, she concentrates on bachelors: unmarried men who do not live with their parents, spouses, or lovers. Her bachelors identify as straight or gay, live alone or with roommates, and cover a range of ages and socio-economic groups. May poses the men in a formal manner; their gaze is never toward the camera, but they seem self-consciously aware of an audience. She produces photographs located somewhere between portraiture and documentary, that allow women (and men) to stare unabashedly at attractive bachelors and then visually rifle through their belongings. What do we learn about these specific bachelors, how do men present themselves to the camera, and does the female viewer take pleasure in the sight?
Jeanette May is a photo-based artist using a critical, sometimes playful, approach to investigate representation. Early training as a painter is evident in her carefully arranged compositions and rich color palette. May received her MFA in Photography from CalArts and her BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has been awarded grants, fellowships, and residencies from the NEA Regional Artists’ Projects Fund, Brooklyn Arts Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and Ms. Foundation. Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Milan, Athens, Barcelona, and Shanghai. May lives in Brooklyn.