Men in impeccably-tailored suit jackets and oxford-clad feet compared pocket squares and spoke of creative inspiration last weekend at Harlem PoP, located on 126th Street and Lenox Ave. The pop-up shop in central Harlem is home to the Dandy Lion photography exhibit, a photography showcase capturing a subculture of men who have redefined what it means to exude masculinity that rebels against the hip-hop culture’s constructed idea of what being a black man should look like.
On view from Nov. 6 – Nov. 28, the Dandy Lion showcase offers photography from 10 different photographers, all unique in perspective and diverse in age and dress. Some of the small exhibits focus on bright and acidic digital prints while others find that black and white lends a timeless aesthetic.
Each individual cluster of photos emits individuality, and each photographer, many who consider themselves Dandies, finds his/her creative impulses come from a sense of self and a curiosity about the world.
“The images are not static to me,” says Radcliffe Roy, a Brooklyn-based photographer who, once a literature major, likes to capture the gritty lives of “grassroots” people. “I feel like I’m writing a story every time I take a photograph.”
While each man/woman behind the lens is influenced by a variety of life experiences and personal creative musings, all of the photos in the exhibit capture this new black American prototype in a way that peeks into the future, asking the viewer to question the concrete rulings that masculinity should look a certain way.
Click on each image to view the full-sized version.