Cult of Boys

With her scrapbook Cult of Boys fashion photographer Toyin Ibidapo created a visiual memorial for the (slightly older) androgynous sons of the fading emo decade.

You can’t always trust your gaydar. Opening this book might let you think of the numerous gay photographers with their affection for teens. Not this time though. Cult of Boys comes form a woman who photographed for clients like the Dazed & Confused magazine or the late queer fashion star Alexander McQueen.

The portraits of the emosih lads featured in this book were made over a longer period of time in her own flat. Most of the boys are scantily clad (or not at all) but eroticism isn’t the major theme; there seems to be an intimate atmosphere built on trust and maybe even friendship. Ingenuous models explore who they are–and who they could be. Although carefully staged the photos, which might remind you of the Yatrofsky’s work, seem genuine and emit the honesty and frankness the photography of the young and beautiful so often lacks. Impetuous and with lots of charm the fascinating pictures capture the raw vulnerability of the soft youth.

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14 thoughts on “Cult of Boys”

  1. Praise the gods! The Emo decade is fading! Best news I have heard all year.

    I have to look closer at the work of this photographer. The boy on the cover is pretty in all regards except for all those skin blemishes and spots. Usually the cover photo is the best of what the book will have to offer, so my expectations are immediately lowered. I’ll have a further look right now.

  2. Her work is very staged. Anyone who seeks an authentic vision in this genre must look to the images of Larry Clark. He towers head and shoulders over this.

  3. I’ve seen a lot of her work before. The people she photographs all seem to be on drugs, or very unhappy. I don’t think I would want to know anyone who she has ever taken pictures of.

  4. I cannot say I know much about the emo craze other than it appears depressive and drug oriented, I’m drawn to the sexy and cute but healthy and more sophisticated look.

  5. I quite like the emo craze, both for its beautiful boys and its ironically attention-seeking, anti-social subculture.

    1. I like it too :). I was always pleasantly surprised to see it blossom and I hope at least some boys will keep it going. It seemed to me like it jumped from the UK to the US via MySpace profiles in 2005ish, am I wrong?

  6. Love these pictures “fading emo decade”? lol, who says that? give me some REAL reliable sources please? emo has been around since the 80s and and comes back in phases just like the saggers and chavs and etc. emo may be a passing style with the bandwagon masses, and as they get older they will jump on to something else but a renmant will survive. BTW im no real fan of the over makeup heavily tattoed emo boys though there are some exceptions, IMO the ones that i prefer would really not be classsified as “emo” other than having shaggy hair or looking good in tight jeans the craze may be going “out of style” but some elements might/will make their way to the next thing coming, whatever that is

  7. Help, my knowledge falls short. When exactly a boy is called an emo boy? Is it connected with some subculture or lifestyle, or is it just clothing and hair style? Is an emo boy necessarily gay?
    Other pics on Toyin Ibidapo’s site didn’t make me wiser. I am curious if you all have the same opinion about this.

    1. a boy is emo when he seems to be depressing by viewers. Apparently it’s an outcropping of the 80’s goth culture. Most emos are straight (as most people of any generic group are straight).

      My opinion is that the ‘emo’ style is cute and adorable… I just want to hug them when I see them… :)

  8. I think the Emo subculture was very misunderstood. They call it a “decade”, but it very much had its roots in the 70s with bands like The Ramones, who were in turn inspired by 60s girl groups like The Ronettes. I think advances in hair products helped perfect the look. Throw goth and anime into the mix and all the ingredients are there. I think for the most part, boys adopted the look because it appealed to girls, the same way they adopted the Bieber hairstyle. It is all about the vagina really. A lot say they are bisexual, but aren’t actually having any same sex relations and are only attracted to boys who look like girls. I saw all that in a documentary about the glam rock era where Bowie saying he was bisexual caused many of his fans to say the same. Fast forward a few years and all those fans are married with kids and have never had a same sex experience in their lives. Also, with the whole Emo thing I find it very consumer-friendly, It is a blessing for the cosmetics industry to increase sales by being able to sell make-up to boys, oh, and hair products, which will ultimately leave this generation of hairstyles bald. The evidence exists for this too. A lot of the hair products that females use have a different effect on the scalps of males and will speed up the natural hair loss process. It is a very cute look if you a boy can pull it off, but ultimately I think it lacks originality and style. It is just a fashion trend in my eyes that will pass. With that said, I’d rather have sex with an Emo than a muscular, head shave clone.

  9. I couldn’t help but feeling a little bit sad at the word “fading emo decade”. That was my childhood.

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