In FREE NOW, men seek the intimacy achieved behind closed doors. Belgian photographer Pierre Liebaert (1990) placed an ad to which men responded, willing to pose nude in front of a camera. In mundane rooms, the men expose themselves in front of the camera, transgressing the norms that their public life or private situation apparently impose on them.
Liebaert's images do not seek to glamourize, nor belittle. Instead, they register as banal representations of something essentially exhilarating: freedom from self. The men portrayed are shown in various posed settings, nude but somehow stripped of the sexual energy that might be expected from such an intimate encounter. Yet, the vibrancy and excitement experienced in the encounters is palpable. The 'nakedness' that seems most at stake is not the revealing of skin, but of an alternative identity, the version self that does not feel free to express itself. The images therefore prod unrelentingly at the idea of transgression: What are the roles against which we rebel? Who is the self that we wish to escape? Who else can we become, when going behind a closed door with a stranger?
Liebaert produced FREE NOW (Libre maintenant) as a multimedia project, combining interviews, video and still images, which he formed also into an intensely beautiful movie (11 minutes) available online: