From the sex addict to the vicar, men open up about their manhood
Every one of Laura Dodsworths penises is unique: introvert and extrovert, straight and bendy, wobblers and bobblers, growers and showers. There are contented penises that have led full lives, and disappointed penises that have let down their owners or been let down by their owners.
In Dodsworths new book Manhood, every penis tells a story. There is the trans man who invested in the biggest and best; the underpowered poet hung up on his for years, until he decided to celebrate it with The Big Small Penis Party; the man who as a teenager thought he had genital warts and considered killing himself, until he found out they were normal spots; the business leader whose small penis taught him humility; the sex addict whose wife tried to cut it off; and the vicar who enjoyed his first threesome while training for the priesthood.
This is not Dodsworths first foray into body parts. In 2014s Bare Reality, also previewed in Guardian Weekend, the photographer interviewed women about their relationship with their breasts. That was delicate, Dodsworth says, but not as delicate as this. Breasts have been commodified and aestheticised, so were used to seeing them in everyday life; the same cannot be said of penises, which remain largely unseen and very much taboo.
Dodsworths earlier project was personal. Like many of us, she says, she is uneasy with her own body. You see lots of pictures of breasts everywhere and you cant help feeling you dont measure up. When she talked to women, she discovered many of them could tell their life story through them. And she has had a similar experience with Manhood. I had this sense that men were in a man box as much as Id been in a woman box, and I wanted to get to know them better and hear their stories. One word for penis is manhood, so it seemed a perfect starting point to talk about being a man.