Brooklyn-based fashion photographer Tarik Carroll’s work has appeared in top fashion publications, People Magazine, and even The New York Times. During his years as a top fashion shooter, though, the artist increasingly felt isolated. He felt little connection to the hard-bodied models he was called upon to photograph. He longed to diversify his work and challenge the notion that male models should all stand precisely six feet tall and wear forty-regular jackets.
Carroll’s new exhibit at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI, “EveryBODY IS A GOOD BODY: The RE-formation of Beauty Standards” offers a stout protest against all that the fashion industry holds dear. The models featured in the exhibit look nothing like those Carroll photographed for years as a top fashion photographer. The photographs are of men with bodies like ours. The images emerged from Carroll’s “Everyman” project that made the artist a star in the world of fine art and a media darling.
“Being a fashion photographer in the industry for thirteen years, I have more than enough experience to create very high-quality campaign imagery,” Carroll said confidently as he stood beside his work. “I wanted to reimagine things from a lens that really showcases a wide spectrum of body types, because representation is very important.”
Tarik’s work challenges gender norms as well. The artist argues men are every bit as insecure about their bodies as are women but hide their insecurities behind a shield of hyper-masculinity.
“Our insecurities come out in different ways,” the artist said. “We’re also taught not to speak out about those insecurities because men are taught not to really emote or not to showcase emotion. A lot of that is rooted in toxic masculinity and we have to do a lot of unlearning. There’s beauty in being vulnerable. There’s beauty in being able to admit that you might not feel too good in your body.”
Tarik’s passion for infusing his work with diversity stems at least in part from his own struggles with body image. His many conversations with models about their insecurities have added to that passion. It becomes clear when speaking to the artist that he has been liberated by his breakout project.
“Men can wear makeup,” he said with a smile as he pointed to the image of four men that launched the Everyman Project. “Men can put glitter in their beard and really create that space of freedom and expression and showcase that joy!”
Tarik Carroll’s “EveryBODY IS A GOOD BODY” exhibit will hang in the Herron School of Art and Design until Tuesday, April 26.