THE ROOT of our empathy for a lot of us is eye contact and physical contact. And we live in very apathetic times. Because I am of African descent—because I was raised in American black culture—my lens is trained on my people, the culture of my people. All my life, I’ve noticed, without being able to fully articulate it, the reluctance for intimacy amongst black men. The first thing I wanted to do was humanize the subjects and normalize their humanity—just to create some images of black men being normal. And then I wanted to try to encroach on that reluctance for intimacy between myself as a black man and a photographer, and the subjects who were black men. If they can leave that experience with me and have one safe and positive experience with another black male in an intimate setting, then that’s progress.