Here’s the thing: classic pin-up images may be retro “cool” and have a certain style that defines a very specific era of time, even though in 2013 they can look rather awkward.
Rion Sabean made an amazing, and oddly beautiful, social commentary on the art of the pin-up with his series Men-Ups. In his collection of images he took a gander at “a restructuring of the ways in which males are presented in popular media, applying traditional pinup poses that are reserved for the female form, while still presenting the models in ‘masculine’ clothing.” He added that his “project aimed at reversing the stereotypes created by society, begging the questions; why is it sexual for a female to pose one way, and not sexual for a male? Why is it considered more comical or unsettling for males to act the more socially defined feminine?”
But the strength of these images is not just about his comment on gender. What Rion Sabean does in his examination of this form of photography is to highlight not just how odd it seems when men strike the same poses, but how ridiculous it all seems for anyone to pose this way. And I have experience in this. I actually posed pin-up style for a couple band’s albums. Yes, it was awkward, but back then I thought, “oh it’ll be fun to show my kid someday.” But I have a kid now, and you know what, she has never seen any of them. Why? Because IT’S TOTALLY AWKWARD.
Check out the awkward nature of men posed in traditional pin-up poses here:
Fixing a Bike 1 of 9
A man posed "seductively" by his bike. Bonus points for the torn jeans.
Camo 2 of 9
As this is not a traditionally male pose, the camo makes the juxtaposition really striking.
Balls 3 of 9
A pretty ballsy pose (excuse the pun) for this "good sport."
Workout Time 4 of 9
A bearded man gives a wide-eyed pose "seductively" next to a set of free weights.
Tire Change? 5 of 9
Most awkward tire change EVER, yet totally awesome. What would you do if you saw this at a garage?
Lumberjack 6 of 9
He'll chop your firewood any day.
Digger 7 of 9
Nothing like taking a break from all that digging to pull out an epic leg pose.
Chained 8 of 9
Forget the chains; his passion is unbridled in this sexy pose.
Tool Time 9 of 9
He's got the tools and ain't afraid to use them.