Photographer Michael Stokes Captures Nude Male Amputees For Art Books And The Results Are Pretty Stunning
There's a photo of a nude man on a beach, his tattooed body glistening and ultra-defined muscles rippling. As your eyes travel down the length of his body, you notice that the man has a prosthetic leg — and that it's actually the focal point of the shot. The nude photo of the amputee is part of an ongoing project by photographer Michael Stokes that aims to capture "the male form."
Stokes' nude photos of soldiers who have been injured in combat are easily his most-known works, and have been censored by the likes of Facebook and Instagram. He's currently running a Kickstarter for the printing of two coffee table books, Masculinity and Always Loyal. While his previous book, Bare Strength, featured a chapter on wounded and amputee Marines, Always Loyal will be solely dedicated to them. The images won't just look good, but also do good: Stokes donates $100 from his own pocket for each pledge to the Kickstarter to Semper Fi, a charity that benefits wounded veterans.
The images struck me because, as much as Stokes' work is uninteresting to me in its focus on traditional masculinity and idealized male bodies, incorporating empowering images of disabled men with prosthetics is so important.
In body positivity and body diversity, one area that's sorely lacking — and consists of people who have still yet to be represented in non-tokenizing ways — is visibility for disabled people. Although the models' appearances are conventionally attractive in pretty much every other way, seeing stigmatized bodies celebrated as sexy and strong is a much-needed depiction.
The crowdfunding campaign was completed in one hour and 15 minutes, so these books are definitely getting printed, but there are still perks to be claimed! Here's to hoping that we see more work like this from Stokes and that it becomes even more diverse, including all different kinds of disabled bodies and amputees.