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Cynthia Smith

Everyday Mythic Men


September 13 - October 20, 2001

What is a man? Warrior, patriarch, explorer, inventor, gallant, shaman, and hero, such are the images of manhood embedded in our cultural mythology. Each stereotyped image invokes a corresponding romantic notion. Implicit within the romance is the idea of an individual’s struggle and eventual triumph over obstacles found on the journey of life.

In my current photographic project, I look for evidence of male self-definition. I use the camera to “pay attention”, and seek clues of the struggles, failures and triumphs of everyday men. The clues I’m interested in are those which hint of mythic proportions shrouded in the everyday. They can be the aspirations of a little boy to be both a cowboy and biker, moments shared between a father and son, or a man’s self-probing as he struggles to overcome an addiction. The latter part of the 20th century leaves us with worn-out stereotypes for both men and women. The complexity of sameness and difference which defines the sexes as human continues to fascinate me. Everyday Mythic Men looks at men.