An exploration of the connections between masculinity, homosexuality, and athleticism, ‘Tryouts’ is a personal journey through the difficult yet common experience of growing up not fitting into social norms.
“I found a constant disconnect to masculinity.”Ryan Caruthers is a 22 year old photographer based in NYC. The pictures collected in ‘Tryouts’ stem from his experiences while growing up in a suburban neighborhood of New Jersey. “Being closeted separated me from other boys at school and contributed to this estrangement from sports as this is what boys my age were mostly preoccupied with,” describes Caruthers. “My thin frame and having a bone deformity in my chest also separated me from other males at school. I found a constant disconnect to masculinity.”
The brutality to which he refers in his images doesn’t only show the brutality of the sports, but also references being bullied. While the series aims to shed the light on boyhood and traditional ideas of masculinity, it also brings to light the whole palette of emotions resulting from non-conformity to ingrained yet harmful social norms, and the alienation that these emotions amount to.
All images © Ryan Caruthers