A 43-year-old Romanian artist named Tiberiu Căpudean has photographed over 200 naked men and recorded their stories of facing discrimination for his latest project, N•A•K•E•D. He started the project of naked men photos in response to his homeland’s religious-driven homophobia as it considers whether to ban same-sex marriage.
Căpudean says his photography project is a tool for fighting homophobia, xenophobia, racism, body shaming, ageism and stereotypes.
You can view N•A•K•E•D at his Instagram (link NSFW). In it, Căpudean captures intimate black-and-white portraits of men in their homes and bedrooms. These men are surgeons, artistic directors, chefs, managers — people from every part of society. They’re also from countries all around the world including Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, the U.K., the U.S. and Venezuela.
And by capturing theses men nude and vulnerable, he captures their beauty and humanity.
One fashion designer in the project discusses the ageism and shaming of effeminate men by the gay community. A man who works in international business development talks about being told by his sister she couldn’t stand to “live with faggots.” Another man talks about the bullies who used to break his glasses and steal his food when he was a kid.
The project also features at least one woman and several couples.
I strongly believe that the LGBTQ community needs more visibility. Therefore, N•A•K•E•D emerged from this need and from my desire to help those who are not part of a sexual minority to understand us. … I want to give a face and a voice to those that the homophobes hate without even knowing. I want them to understand that we are not really all that different and that our sexuality does not define us as people.
Male nudes have long been a mainstay of art, but contemporary queer photographers have begun reclaiming the nude in the continued global fight for compassion and LGBTQ rights.