Marina Ali

MASCULINITY IS A PRISON

Marina Ali
MASCULINITY IS A PRISON

And that’s when it all began. My sense of “masculinity” has imprisoned me from freely expressing myself.

 

We sat down with dynamic photographer Dorian Wilson, who prefers to go by his alias Scottie. He’s the creator of Masculinity is a Prison, a fresh project shifting traditional notions on black male friendships. Get ready to have everything you know about race, gender, beauty, and love turned on its head as you read about Scottie and his new project.

 

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Beaufort, South Carolina and I raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. A lot of people think I am from New York City, because I work there often (smiles) but I'm actually a country boy.

 

What got you into photography? Did you go to school for it?

I went to school for graphic communication systems, with a concentration in media design. I'm a former student of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. (#AGGIEPRIDE!!!)

It was around my junior year when I began soul searching. I was not sure if I was happy in North Carolina anymore. I wanted to experience more, elsewhere. I started thinking about pursuing a Master's in Film Production after I completed my Bachelors. Not a lot of people know this, but I've always wanted to be a film director.

When I started looking up master's degree programs, the only one I liked was in film production and photography. I looked up the admission requirements, and I noticed that you needed either a film portfolio or a photography portfolio to apply. At the time, I was more familiar with photography. So, I began homing in on my skills! I was the director of publicity of a modeling troupe at my university called Verge Modeling Troupe. I used the models in the troupe as my first muses. From the moment I took the first photo of my model Zayia, I knew I found my niche.

 

What gives you inspiration in your photography?

(chuckles) I get this question a lot and it’s so hard to answer.

Honestly, the origin of my inspiration is found in a variety of places. Every experience I go through in life provides me with something to use for any future projects I'm considering of doing.

 

What experiences in your life influence your photography?

Definitely my move to New York City. A lot of influences on my photography derive from the experiences and people of this city. I think of New York as my second home now. My most fond memories are the hours I spent confiding in my mentor Matthew. He's one of those special people in your life who helps you reach new levels of maturity and growth. I really admire him and I'm very grateful for his presence in my life.

 

What inspired your project, Masculinity is a Prison?

It all started from a picture that I saw on Tumblr. It was a photo of four boys, sitting on a couch together. They were close enough to depict the type of relationship these boys shared. They were best friends. It was a vulnerable and intimate moment that I thought was beautiful.

I began to wonder, why didn't I see more photos that looked like that? I started to consider all the backlash commentary I would receive from loved ones for even considering posting an image like this on my social media.

And that’s when it all began. My sense of “masculinity” has imprisoned me from freely expressing myself.

 

What did you want to convey through Masculinity is a Prison?

My message through Masculinity Is a Prison is a precise one that is not yet ready to be fully disclosed...This message is too complex to only be completed in one simple editorial with two models. A message this powerful requires much more thorough research. I've had to read books, periodicals, and studies by scholars on the broad concept of masculinity. I'm the passionate type of artist. I need to be able to submerge myself for a while before sharing my vision.

But another way to answer your question is the following: any man should be able to freely express themselves in any way he chooses.

 

What are your opinions on gender, race and intersectionality, and how do they show up in your project?

I am a photographic artist and a “visual activist” who uses visual media to create a message.  I do not hate men. I do not hate masculinity. One concept I will always promote through INTHEEYESOFSCOTTIE is unapologetically "be yourself." Despite not being fully accepted and feeling like an outcast in society, I continue to share my thought provoking photography through social media. Through my entire series, I will showcase a warm, visual imaginary of an American society where masculinity is no longer a prison and performances of masculinity do not harm others. By highlighting these possibilities, it is my hope that my visual project could continue to inspire change in and beyond the U.S.

 

What were your favorite parts when you were creating this project?

My favorite parts on creating this ongoing project is connecting on a deeper level with my fellow men involved throughout my process. Being able to understand how different masculine identities feel imprisoned is comforting. It helps me, as a man, to better understand my feelings and how I cope with emotions that I personally go through.

 

What's the future of Masculinity in Prison?

I am currently working on a few things! I will be featured in an upcoming documentary where I will be able to expand on the vision I have for my #MasculinityIsAPrison photo series. I can't disclose which platform will be featuring me as a cast member, but it will be one that many of my supporters are familiar with. Ss of today, I have also submitted an art book proposal to the Capricious Photo Awards. Founded as a fine art photography magazine in 2004 by Sophie Mörner, Capricious Magazine has provided an unparalleled international platform for emerging and underrepresented photographers over the span of twelve years and sixteen issues. One photographer will win an amazing opportunity! The winner will receive financial resources and a publishing team to print a limited-edition book valued at $10,000 USD! Maybe it's a bad idea to share this info during our interview (laughs), but I believe whole heartedly that this opportunity is meant for me.  

I am still running my campaign for #MasculinityIsAPrison through GoFundMe. Using my wits in marketing, I've managed to be named the top Creative Campaign Organizer for three months straight and have raised over $7,000 in donations towards this photo series. I envision these photos to be curated for venues, museums, and possibly photo books with unreleased archived images. 'm just $3,000 short from my goal. (puts up prayer hands)

nce I raise the money from my goal, I will begin producing my first solo photo exhibition! I am confident in saying that #MasculinityIsAPrison is going to be my most ground-breaking project. This project will lay the foundation for my flourishing career as a creative photographer and visual activist. f anyone reading would like to donate towards #MasculinityIsAPrison. (Here’s the link.)

 

Where do you see your photography projects going in the future?

I foresee many great things in my future. I am way beyond the title of photographer. I am a creative who uses his gift to inspire, encourage, motivate, and question. Off the top of my head, I am not sure what type of projects I will be working on in the future, but what I do know, is that all my projects will uphold the same standard I've created within my #MasculinityIsAPrison project.

 

Is there anything else you want to tell Drunk Magazine’s readers?

To anyone reading this interview, to anyone who takes the time to journey with me through #MasculinityIsAPrison: whatever you're going through, I hope you find the strength to keep going. You are not alone.

 

You can find Scottie on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. Check out his website and his work on Drunk Magazine.

 

CREDITS

Photographer: Dorian 'Scottie' Wilson

Models: Devin Lamon, D1 Models, Bentley Johnson, Chase Models NY

Stylist: Ziggy Johnson

Assist. Stylist: Vienna Skye

Studio: Mighty Luck Studios

Marina Ali is a student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is a staff writer for Brown Girl Magazine, the features editor for Drunk Magazine, and the social media manager for TMO Media. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, you can find her picnicking in pastoral East Texas, crafting for her sorority sisters, or making food.