Terrorist. Gangster. Stripper. Landscaper.
When people are viewed as stereotypes, they're labeled on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Photographer Joel Parés, a U.S. Marine from Puerto Rico, sought to highlight these prejudices in his new series, "Judging America."
"My inspiration for this series is the fact that America is a country that is very diverse with many ethnicities that together create the United States of America," he told photography blog Fstoppers.
Parés has observed stereotyping throughout his lifetime, like when his twin brother was bullied for being a "nerd" as a child, or when his friends from India were called "terrorists" and taunted with phony Middle Eastern accents while he was stationed in the South during his stint in the Marine Corps.
"It hurt me to see all of these things happening, so I decided that I would use my photography as my voice crying out for change," he told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "My goal is to open the eyes of those who judge and let them see that it is wrong, and they need to get to know someone before they begin to label them under a certain category."
For the series, Parés photographed each subject twice. One photo shows the subject dressed to mimic a stereotype, and the other shows the subject as he or she really is.
"[M]any of us judge incorrectly by someone’s ethnicity, by their profession and by their sexual interest," he also told HuffPost. "The purpose of this series is to open our eyes and make us think twice before judging someone, because we all judge, even if we try not to. The first image is not necessarily what you actually see, but it is what you categorize them in your head without knowing who they truly are. The second image explains the truth about the person and how incorrect they were judged initially [all sic]."
Parés has experience in front of the camera, having worked as a model, according to Fstoppers. However, he is passionate about working behind the camera because he loves the possibility of "telling a story in a unique way, a way that can inspire the world," he told the photography blog.
h/t Bored Panda