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13

men of cleaning

This project was conceived by chance. I wanted to test new lens and I took some pictures of this very important man of my life. We were in his house. He was naked and he had just finished to do the cleaning. I did like the portraits so much that I decided to make a series. So I started to ask friends and acquaintances the permission to shoot them while doing their cleaning at home, naked, informing them that I would hidden their face or take off their head during retouching, if necessary.


During two years I asked forty-two men. Thirty-four in Marseilles (France), eight in Italy. I got in touch with them directly or through common friends.

Twenty-nine refused. Three of them were too prudish and three others did not feel concerned. One was blind and could not appreciate the result. Two of them meant to loose weight before. One had tattoos and was horrified at the idea of being photographed but he found someone to substitute him. Two of them never answered my proposition. Another considered it a mad thing, that did not suit him at all. One was interested but he never got to concretize. Another did not find himself aesthetical enough. One had skin problems and not enough motivation. One did not want his girl-friend to know, so I let him go. Another changed his mind at the last moment without explaining. One does not know the reason of his refusal yet. One was too modest but so enthusiastic that he asked six of his friends. They all refused. Some told him that he was mad, the others felt too chaste. One said yes to a common friend but he never answered my message. Finally, one said that ultra-feminism was so-so, “Bof!” in french.


Thirteen men accepted my invitation. Five of them live in Bologna and eight in Marseilles.

Three of them did not want to be photographed at home where they live with their wife and children. So, one came to do the cleaning in my house and four of them in common friends' house.


At number thirteen I decided to stop because I am interested in the symbolical meaning of this number which embodies disorder, instability and uncertainty. The unity summed up to the number twelve indicates a rupture in the harmony: 13 is a number which breaks the balance and continuity law. By arresting cyclicality, it obliges to a radical transformation.


At the end, I asked all the people who participated to tell me what they felt about the experience. Eleven answered and I have reported their testimonials below. I immediately understood that the project belonged to them and I sincerely thank them all for trusting me and for taking part with so much generosity.

I know it was not easy.

 
 

TESTIMONIALS

 

«It's strange for a chaste, shy person like me ... a sensation of freedom...
This experience made me think of Serge Gainsbourg who was a timid guy until he accepted to pose naked for a photographer and so doing he felt liberated and he could easily took off his clothes afterwards. The same happened to me. Since I posed naked for you I feel better, even when walking around the house without clothes... Thank you Barbara!»