Men Through the Lens of a Legendary Female Street Photographer / by Jill Freedman


I have always liked playing with boys, from softball to hardball, and I love watching them, the way some like to watch us.  I realize now I’ve been watching them for years, only I never thought about it that way.  I thought in terms of adventure, excitement, curiosity, action.  Much later I saw that these were men’s worlds I was photographing: circus, firemen, cops.  I spent enough time so that they got used to me and stopped trying to impress me with their manliness, and then I got to see them as they are with each other, natural, in their habitats.  Men working and playing together, without women, and loving it.  It has nothing to do with women, most men just prefer being with other men. They’re used to each other, speak the same language.  They don’t ask each other what they’re thinking.  They can be 100 years old, but it’s still the boys’ club.

But try to live with one.  They either turn into your mother (“Why didn’t you call?”) or your boss.  Sweet and lovable one minute, a raving maniac the next.  it is a known fact that men drive women crazy.  What do men want?  What do they want?

I don’t know.  I just like hanging out with them, listening to their stories, enjoying their pleasure in each other and their lies.

These are photographs of men through a woman’s eye, through this woman’s eye. All sides of men: men with women, with children, with other men, alone.  Their sweetness, their camaraderie, their loneliness.  Real men – funny, disgusting, crude, adorable – what women love and what we hate, from their gentleness and kindness to how idiotic and infuriating they can be. One minute you love them, the next minute you want to kill them.

Ask any woman. 

This story appeared in the August Photo Annual of VICE 2016.  To see it, click here.