Funny self-portraits of a passive & detached man being kissed by strangers

in Inspiration / Photography

Return to Sender is a wonderfully funny photo series by Memphis-based photographer Tommy Kha where he deliberately receives a kiss from strangers, friends, and lovers, but doesn't return it. But when he approaches people to take part in his ongoing project, he has only one rule - that they must kiss him on the lips. No matter how they choose to go about it - it has to be on the lips. The result is lots of hilarious and inventive approaches from his subjects, but the one thing that remains consistent throughout is Tommy's reaction - a blank facial expression and cold body language, which makes for lots of awkward shots. There's no signs of pleasure, comfort or joy - he just looks passive and detached from the situation.

But why? Speaking of the project, Tommy said: "While my passive character mirrors stereotypes of the Asian man—usually almost always depicted as neutered, asexual, or submissive within media, it is my transgression as the photographer that undermines this passivity. Coupled with the other participants control over their own representation through their kiss, these images intend to question and confuse the role of the photographer and sitter, protagonist and supporting character, self-portrait and performance."

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