Caribbean-born, Copenhagen-based photographer Denisse Ariana Perez captures images that connect her subjects with the environment and redefine ideas of black masculinity and beauty. Taken in Benin and Uganda, Perez’s Men and Water series (I, II, and III) features men of color often topless, but not sexualized, as they sit, stand, and embrace one another in murky natural pools and beneath waterfalls.
“I’m on a quest to find beauty in the sometimes less obvious places,” Perez told It’s Nice That. “I like to use this medium to highlight the beauty of individuals, their communities and cultures, especially those who are marginalized.” Many of her subjects are men because she likes to portray them “through a sensitive lens, to show more sides to them, other than their physical strength or sex appeal.” Working as both a copywriter and a photographer, Perez says that storytelling is what bridges the two worlds, and the liquid landscapes are a big part of the stories that she tells.
“Water can disarm even the most armed of facades,” Perez writes of the Men and Water series. “Becoming one with water is not about rushing but rather about flowing. And flowing is the closest thing to being.” To see more of Perez’s beautiful images, follow the photographer on Instagram.