Think of a photograph that would be suitable for a campaign tackling domestic violence, and it is likely that a dark image of a terrified women, crouching in the shadow of an abuser, is likely to spring to mind.
Yet when Italian photographer Andrea Zipoli partnered up with domestic abuse organisation Safe Ireland to examine the subject, they decided to take an altogether different approach.
The result of Mr Zipoli’s work is an exhibition of 20 photographs capturing beautifully the tender moments when men display courage, strength, and love with their children, wives, girlfriends, friends, and colleagues.
The exhibition - Leading a Change - has been touring Ireland since it opened in Dublin last October as part of the national ‘Man Up’ initiative and it opened in Mayo for the first time yesterday afternooon in the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar.
Man Up is Safe Ireland’s campaign to highlight the positive role men can play in ending domestic violence.
It focuses on men showing pride and leadership, challenging abuse and violence, and supporting women and children.
For Mr Zipoli, a Milan born businessman who is now based in Galway, his project was about showing men from a different angle, still very much ‘men’ but tender too.
“Men are represented in the exhibition as being tough, but in very tender moments,” he explained.
“It expresses how men are good human beings, in everyday moments, which portrays men as positive rather than negative, being supportive, kind, and couragous.”
The exhibition will tour Mayo until March 22. It finishes in the Linenhall on February 26 and moves to Curam in Claremorris from Friday February 27 until March 5. The exhibition will then open in The Family Resource Centre, Ballina, from March 6 to 15, and in the Civic Centre in Belmullet from March 16 to 22.
Mayo Women’s Support Services, a community service which supports women in the county who are victims of domestic violence, is encouraging everyone, but particulary men, to see the exhibition while it is in Mayo.
“These photographs tell a positive story of men and their role in family life,” said a spokesperson for MWSS. “We would urge men to come along to the exhibition and show support for the campaign in opposing violence against women.”