Chad States' 'Masculinities' Project Sparks A Much-Needed Dialogue About Manhood (PHOTOS)

As a culture, we spend a serious (and necessary) amount of time discussing the expectations placed on women, and what it means to be female. But are the same conversations happening for men?

Photographer Chad States is hoping to start a dialogue through his new series, "Masculinities." States explained his inspiration in an email to The Huffington Post:

The project was just a natural extension of a question that I have always asked myself; "Am I masculine?" I am a gay man and have always been aware of my difference and consequently became more aware of "masculine" mens' way of behaving and how they differed or were similar to my own behavior. This awareness then lead me to question what was truly masculine. I could never answer that question fully so I decided to ask it of others, which then became the project.

In an interview for online magazine The Morning News, States revealed that recruited his subjects by posting on Craigslist to the effect of: “I am doing a photography project on masculinity. If you identify as being masculine, please get back to me.” After an introductory phone conversation, States met the subjects at their homes, where he photographed them in poses and scenarios they themselves dictated.

One of the best parts of States' series is the diversity of subjects he photographs. His subjects include straight men, gay men, cisgendered men, trans men, women, and humans of all ethnic backgrounds. This variety proves how impossible it is to fit masculinity into one box or to define it simply. Each person States photographs crafts their own idea of masculinity, from Dwight, who thinks that masculinity is an attitude, to Luke, whose sense of being a man comes from "abandoning women after taking their love."

States told Nozlee Samadzadeh of The Morning News: "People may find a lot of comedic details in [any given] photograph, but I feel that is reflection of their own ideas of masculinity and how a subject may or may not fit into that concept."

Click over to the photographer's website to see the rest of the "Masculinities" images.

"Masculinities" by Chad States