"Gender Fluid Study, Vulnerability" by Matthew Usukumah, Photography
(Digital): 3.288 x 3.573
Story/Description: “I learned something; Gender Fluidity is a perilously vulnerable act. Insecure individuals may see willingly-vulnerable people as a threat; A freed individual may expose a void in another. Survival, then, becomes necessary: Conform in public, but be yourself in welcomed settings. The result, unfortunately, is that one discounts themselves to protect insecure strangers from that void... Overcoming this paradox has to be a monumental task.”
Matthew ventured into photography in 2017, focusing on fashion. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic started, he was compelled to explore concepts such as mental health, politics, race, and themes regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Matthew explores these ideas via studio photography and photojournalism.
Creating a multitude of series to tell various stories, Matthew values the need for each studio photo to be accompanied with a short text that contextualizes each image. Each photo and its text serve as a mechanism for Matthew’s introspection; why he took the photo, and the state of his subconsciousness.
With each photo, Matthew strives to be relentlessly honest. He hopes the viewer walks away with a greater value for self-introspection, and therefore self-care.