Ryan Henwood-White


Shifting perspectives on diversity


From 2015-2016 I was working on two series of photos entitled ‘Femininity’ and ‘Masculinity’, with the former being the priority. I have experienced massive growth as a person since working on these projects, and I wanted to speak out publicly a little about that.

At the time I was so passionate and close to the art that I was unable to see the lack of diversity, and unwilling to listen to the few who expressed this to me. My relationship with my hardcore feminist activist wife, budding openness to sexuality, and perspective on gender and sex has morphed and evolved since then.

I am very proud of the work and do not regret making it, however, in hindsight, I would have done it a lot differently. These days I aim to create art that is as diverse as possible, regarding body types, gender, sex, ethnicity, orientation, and standards of beauty. In the past, I didn’t go out of my way to seek diversity and photographed the people who were easily accessible to me. Now, I am putting a lot more effort into that search. I still align with the concepts of femininity and masculinity but will endeavour to seek out people who fall all along the spectrum, no matter what genitals they have between their legs. Some of these images are sexual and some are completely non-sexual. I value both. I will continue to shoot nude photography outside of the constraints of these ‘series’ and work in this field alongside ‘Portraiture’, and ‘Sexuality’ as perspectives I have on humanity.

It is with this perspective that I am approaching my work surrounding sexuality, and this delights me tremendously. My goal is not necessarily to arouse but to create an environment in which people can express themselves as they please. So far some of the subjects have expressed themselves for their own liberation and freedom, others are exhibitionists who do desire for the art to turn people on. I am doing my best to stay objective through these experiences and allow the subject to control what they share, how they share it, and the perspective from which I shoot it. As an artist, I am still making all the most important decisions as to how the final work looks, but my empathetic side would have it no other way. I believe this approach is what makes this work so liberating, diverse, and hopefully unique.

With love,