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Focusing on 'Genuine Men'

Local photographer switches gears with book and exhibit

Nancy Bruno, a freelance photographer from Clifton Park, expresses herself through documentary photography. The way some people use words, music or paint to tell stories, Bruno uses her photos. It was one of her many projects that prompted a very powerful response from her son, which paved the way for Genuine Men, originally published as a book and modified to be presented as an art exhibit at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library for the month of June.

Five years ago, Bruno produced a "Beautiful Women" project, which was a photo documentary and exhibition that featured 35 women who represented the concept that the sum of a woman's life experiences is what makes her beautiful. Her oldest son, five at the time, walked into her home office one day soon after the project debuted and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that he was not pleased with her.

"He came in and said, 'you know, it's not fair you do girls and don't do boys,'" said Bruno. "He was very angry at me, felt slighted and slammed the door. I thought about it and I got what he was saying."

Bruno said she knew if she was going to do such a similar project, it had to be done differently. So instead of jumping in right away, she took some time and observed the little boy who made a very loud demand.

"He wanted to be just like his favorite soccer star because he would see him on the street, he went to fancy restaurants, had a fancy car and that's why he wanted to be like him; not because of who he was as a person. I'm sure he's a great guy, but we don't really know," said Bruno. "I really wanted to find men who if my sons spent 20 minutes with any of them, I know they'd walk away with tools or lessons to make better people."

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