As inherently social creatures, the lives of humans are ones of endless connections and relationships--familial, friendly, platonic, not-so-platonic, casual and otherwise. Brooklyn-based photographer Santos Munoz's work investigates aspects of these connections, particularly narrowing in on how trust and intimacy play into them. In his latest series, No One Exists Alone, a living work that has been in progress since 2013, Munoz addresses the experience of vulnerability.
"In my last series To Never Let You Go, I focused on the result of trust, betrayed," the Parsons graduate told OUT. "Of falling in love and then complete surrender to depression and memory of a past lover after it all ends. In my new series, I wanted to address the experience of vulnerability, instead of the negative results of it."
Now live on his website, No One Exists Alone features a series of black-and-white sensual, male nudes. Shot as couples, the models in each shot are mostly unidentifiable, putting the emphasis of each image and the overall series on the feelings of connection and intimacy.
"We are experiencing connections, relationships and making decisions on who to let our walls down for," Munoz said of the project's subject. "It can become this constant nonverbal dialogue that's incredibly scary, but also beautiful. I truly believe we all desire to care for someone, and be cared for. We need support, and we need to trust that someone else is willing to to help us."
But these weren't just ephemeral concepts for Munoz, they were birthed out of his own personal experience. "I grew up in a place where vulnerability wasn't an option--being vulnerable was a weakness," Munoz said referring to the Irish Catholic community he was raised in. "If you let your guard down, you could be hurt, betrayed or heartbroken. If you trusted someone who wasn't your family, chances are they would use some part of you against you in the future." That mindset left the photographer depleted emotionally and physically after his first breakup. Whether or not to be vulnerable again became the question that spurred him to investigate relationships in his own friend group.
"My life turned around during this process of exploring and I realized that to be human is to be connected," he said. "To be vulnerable is to possibly be hurt, be sad. But, to be vulnerable is also to be connected--to allow the possibility of self-discovery, to establish a relationship with someone incredible. We are not alone in these feelings and we're certainly not by ourselves. We're all going through this journey of experience together. We desire connection."
See the entire No One Exists Alone Series, here.