Binders are the antithesis of a bra. Bras, with their tendency to be colourful and embellished, are available in wild and wondrous patterns and shapes of every sort; they’re built to cup and lift, and designed to be seen and admired. Binders, on the other hand, are plain and inconspicuous, built to be worn like a second skin and designed not for the eye, but simply to perform a purpose; they flatten and shape a chest, creating a more masculine, square form for those who don’t wish to show their breasts. Bras have been considered beautiful and often liberating—but who says binders can’t be too? Kyle Lasky shows binders as a work of art in “Presence In Absense,” a photo series that captures the pain, liberation, and beauty in binders.
Kyle is a queer photographer based in Toronto who has just launched their first solo show with “Presence in Absence” this month at the female-friendly sex shop Come As You Are. Kyle chose binders because, “for a lot of people who bind, a binder is the final layer in undressing, so these photos actually function as nudes, they’re portraits of bare chests.” By presenting the binder as a chest itself, the wish of the wearer is being granted; the photos show almost no sign of a traditionally feminine form.
Binders are essentially an extremely tight fitting sort of modern version of a corset, and are used exclusively to flatten breasts and create a male contour chest. They’re worn almost equally by masculine identified people and feminine identified people, and most importantly they provide a surgery-free option of comfort for those who can’t afford the expenses and down-time a mastectomy can demand.