With her striking photo series BUTCH, San Francisco-based photographer Meg Allen says she simply started by wondering what it would be like "to be inundated with several butch styles and ethnicities and body types."
"When I went to look at style and hair in magazines, I had only the typical feminine girls to look at in Vogue and the male version of masculinity to look at in GQ," she elaborates to SheWired. "I had to, as anyone who isn't part of the 'mainstream' culture … sculpt out my own ideal from what was shoved down my throat as 'normal and acceptable.' And by that, I mean [what was] taken seriously in the world and society at large."
The result of her efforts is a lush, evocative, diverse series of portraits that straddle a line between what Allen calls "editorial" and "catalogue-ish." Allen points out that these aren't meant to be candids, but rather a way to intentionally show "each subject in a handsome light."
Moreover, Allen tells SheWired, she wanted to celebrate and display her "gorgeous" subjects unrestrainedly, allowing "outsiders a change to look, to stare, without feeling like they're being invasive." Her portraits are meant, she says, to be attractive and admired, in contrast to a history of masculine women not feeling fully able to "show" themselves to others due, in part, to an understandable fear of violent reactions. Allen spent time with each model discussing how they thought about their masculinity and wished it to be seen.
Having photographed nearly one hundred models in over 200 photographs for BUTCH, Allen is currently gathering resources to continue the project and provide the world with even more handsomeness than the adorable group below.