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Yahia-Tunis-Tunisia 2014

Mectoub explores the themes of contemporary masculinity; men’s bodies and sexuality of a young generation deeply involved in the world’s transformation.
In 2012, I decided to photograph men. Following the Arab Spring, some of them are demonstrating for more individual freedom. From North Africa to the Middle East, I invite men I meet up to pose for me.

Taking the act of shooting pictures closer to a performance in which I challenge myself as a more involved protagonist, this process gives the subjects an outlet to confide and unveil. Through the political overthrowing of the “to see and to be seen”, I offer an alternative way of looking at the world: a female point of view on men, to reveal a new and complex image of the modern Arab man.

By adding a new and positive set of eyes on discrimination’s history, my act becomes a transgression as I channel the transgression of the men I shoot, to rethink matters such as alterity, race, gender or nationality, beyond cultural and geographic conventions.

Scarlett Coten is an independent french female photographer who dedicates herself essentially to personal, long-term projects. Since the 2000s, the Arab countries were at the heart of her photographic practice which explores the themes of identity and intimacy.

After graduating from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles, France, Coten traveled to Egypt to realize "Still alive", spending months through the Sinai desert with the Bedouins. Her strong attachment to this people and their stories, and her immersion in the Bedouin society, bring a unique and remarkable intimacy to this work. The series, produced over three years, was published by Actes sud in 2009. Coten was awarded the Humanity Photo Award in 2004 in Beijing, China, and nominated at the NYPH Festival in 2009 for her book.

Since 2012 Scarlett Coten, by inviting men to pose for her, explores the themes of contemporary masculinity of a young generation deeply involved in the world’s transformation. By challenging the usual codes of representation, the photographer offers an alternative way of looking at the world: a female point of view on men. Her work focuses on the dialogue of genders and the equally complex one of the relationship between the photographer and the person photographed and urges us to reflect on issues such as gender, identity and that of the necessity of a shift in the global imbalance of power.

Produced in Arab countries, her series "Mectoub" (2012 / 2016) invited men to surrender to her female gaze. Scarlett is now pursuing a new project in a completely new territory for her: The United States. "Plan Américan" is an ongoing road trip which has started in the spring 2017, where she reinvents her unique perspective on men she meets up and who offer their moving presence to her female lens.

Scarlett is the winner of the 2016 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Her work is represented by Mariane Ibrahim gallery in Seattle, USA.

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