The Candy Palmater Show

Why this Toronto photographer is doing a swimsuit & underwear photoshoot with plus-size men

Photographer Max Lander wants to start a conversation about men’s body image issues.
(Max Lander/Facebook)

Max Lander is a Toronto-based photographer and a transgender man who's dealt with body image issues his whole life, both as a female and male.

Max has a unique perspective on the different standards surrounding female and male body image. Throughout his transition, he has maintained a similar weight. But as a woman, Max's body mass index (BMI) was considered "morbidly obese," while the same weight was considered only "overweight" for men.

"The same body size was considered much, much larger," Max told Candy. "The word 'obesity' gets thrown around a lot more with women."

Max Lander visited Candy at the CBC Toronto studio to talk about his upcoming photoshoot.

To start a conversation about male body image issues, Max has partnered up with a men's fashion site, Chubstr, for a swimsuit and underwear photoshoot with plus-size men. He said that the body image issues he has observed in plus-size male models have reflected a socialized beauty standard that is exclusive for certain kinds of bodies.

"If they're giant and muscular, that's good," Max explained. "If they're small and soft, that has a lot of insecurity attached to it." 

In Max's experience, a lot of men's body image issues have to do with perceptions of power. Ultimately, the photographer tries to convey that the issues surrounding body image are universal, and there is a certain power in acknowledging that fact.

See examples of Mark's work here.