Is Sarah Bahbah Challenging Male Stereotypes in Latest Photo Series of Noah Centineo?

BY CATHERINE CHOJNOWSKI

Odds are that if you have an Instagram account, you've scrolled past and probably double-tapped on one of Sarah Bahbah's photographs.

 PHOTO:  Sarah Bahbah

The 26-year-old, Australian-born Palestinian photographer is known for her oversaturated, vivid photos paired with thought-evoking captions. In the past, Bahbah's work has explored themes of intimacy, pain and longing, all depicted through scenes of solitude featuring primarily female subjects. Bahbah's work creates a simultaneous sentiment of raw vulnerability and hidden depth.

Her most recent series, titled "Dear Love," is a collaboration with Noah Centineo, who is known for his roles in Netflix rom-coms To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Her series retains the same gentle ambiance as her previous work, yet there is one major difference: the subject is a male. Although Bahbah has worked with male subjects before, including Dylan Sprouse, the intimacy and vulnerability portrayed in "Dear Love" surpasses that of her previous work featuring male protagonists.

Capturing Centineo in a soft, warm in light paired with matching captions describing thoughts of love and loneliness, Bahbah creates a mood of vulnerability and gentleness, something we don't often see represented alongside male subjects. "Dear Love" appears to take on the narrative of a Centineo's thoughts and emotions following a break-up, and his journey embracing and accepting solitude.

While seeing female subjects embody such subject matter is common, with this series Bahbah subtly reminds us that men feel emotions too, and shouldn't be expected to mask them or ignore them. The captions Bahbah has paired with the photographs are similar in tone to those she has used with series including females subjects, alluding to the fact that at the core, we all feel the same pain and longing and that we all have insecurities we are allowed to be open about.

Whether Bahbah's series was created purely with artistic or aesthetic motive, or with the intention of challenging male stereotypes and the idea of toxic masculinity, we can agree that the series is real and breathtaking.

Lead Image Credit: Sarah Bahbah / Instagram