I happened on some of Laura’s photographs which she has posted on her blog named simply Laura’s Mommy Journal. This is one of her many great photos of her family which includes the two guys in this picture. They are brothers. It grabbed me since we are so underwhelmed with images that depict tenderness between men and boys and certainly do not see this sort of feeling between two males communicated with a kiss of the lips. Of course you may have seen this sort of interactions if you have eer spent time with twin boys or brothers particularly close to each other and close in age as well . They often seem to engage in an ongoing exchange one to the other, ever walking the bond of their connection building on these relational neural networks that almost seem to weave them tightly together and all this is done with great understanding and layers of meaning being passed from one to the other though they may have used very few words to do so.
I don’t like weird creepy kid photos with boys in little kissing or holding hands with a little girl and all in a way that looks disturbingly at odds with the actual age of the subjects of the image. They are so often posed and cheesy and make me thing of photos of Chimpanzees doing people things often with some sort of people accessory or cloths to boot. As a gay man I also get concerned about the way heterosexual assumptions and even proscriptions get foisted on kids. In this image there is no age inappropriate narrative being pushed. It is a great shot of intimacy between two males in this case also brothers. Also it shows care expressed with tenderness and touch, something men are hardly ever shown doing except when drunk or one of the men is severely injured or dying. As someone who came out first at 13 and was well aware of an attraction to members of my own gender as early as kindergarten images like this would have communicated much that was affirming. Also as a Male who was late in acquiring a grasp on the mechanics of ironic humor and untill then found a lot of what I was told was humor and meant to be fun instead felt to me cruel and mean-spirited. was sensitive though aware how unacceptable that was considered. Again what images can we find tha can communicate affirmation in ways people in our society are needing to be told. One of the enduring experiences that attracted me to church and the life of faith communities was as a teenager and spending 5 days of each week feeling at odds with the systems of value being employed by other students, teachers, what I often saw on T.V. to have as a relief and response to that sort of world my time at church where imperfect as the lessons may hae been learned the normative messages had to do with sacrifice and care for the week or injured, equality and justice rather than self-serving standards of “fairness”. Because of that I think I am inclined to think about how the church (both building and community) can provide that sort of counterpoint to the wider world and what is often learned and lied there. Another way to express it is to say I work to imagine what we do as a church to ensure that we function to provide some evidence of the heaven, or better world, oor redemptive life in which our religious hope resides and toward which our traditions and teachings largely direct us toward.
Ramps, elevators, accessible bathroom facilities all help to make our churches accessible to those with mobility issues seeking a community of faith. Images like this one serve as a kind of ramp for something largely shunned and shamed in men and so can sere like a ramp for the welcome of a wounded masculinity and unlike a ramp these sort of counter messages prepare us as a religious people and help make space for healing and wholeness . Thanks so much Laura for sharing your lovely self and family and your exquisite talents in composition, color and other aspects of photography.