Photographs by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Steidl, 2014. 56 pp., 24 color illustrations, 11¾x15".
Crying Men is a series of photographic portraits of famous film actors. Taylor-Johnson makes portraits of her subjects as actors; she shoots them in role, asking each to perform and cry for the camera and demands the actor's investment in the process. These are no passive sitters.
Each of the resulting images is distinct; one actor recalls the hieratic clarity of a Byzantine saint whose tears appear decorative. Other images are of heroic crying where stoic restraint has broken down, there are some that display the voluptuous crying of medieval saints, there are images of cathartic crying, quiet tears of regret and grief, and yet whilst being moved by these intimate revelatory images we simultaneously know that the emotional display is being playacted. Sam Taylor-Johnson's film and photographic works are distinguished by their subversive creation of enigmatic situations full of latent but explosive energy.
The portraits include Tim Roth, Gabriel Byrne, Laurence Fishburne, Woody Harrelson, Michael Gambon, Jude Law, Hayden Christiansen, Ryan Gosling, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Benicio Del Toro, Willem Dafoe, and Kris Kristofferson.