plural noun: stereotypes
1.a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
Humans, at their very biological core, create and use the concept of stereotypes to process and identify. Psychologists argue that the concept has advantages enabling us to respond rapidly to situations because we may have had a similar experience before.
I am of the camp that stereotypes, as propagated, broadcasted, and campaigned on by the President of the United States, are divisive, deadly, and disastrous to our democracy.
This project was born out of frustration with our President who routinely attacks cultures, races, sexes, and occupations without recourse.
Maybe Trump’s words do not fully illustrate the damaging nature of the stereotypes being tossed frivolously around by the leader of the free world. Maybe stereotypes when visualized, will have more of an impact to create discussions around how we should choose leaders that move us forward as a society rather than one that divides us and rewinds our social progress. For example, most will recall when Trump called Mexicans rapists, claiming they all come here illegally carrying drugs and guns. Here it is in his own words from the BBC. It's one thing to hear it and read it, but does it change your mind and inspire you to vote for better when you see it? I hope so.
My power as a communicator is in creating images that tell stories. My responsibility as a father and citizen of the United States is to try to make the world I leave for my children better than the one I enjoyed. I created a project that I hope will inspire people to see the dangers and power of stereotypes. Obviously, I can hear the arguments that these images do more harm than good and that they perpetuate the very stereotypes portrayed. As I look at them, I contemplate even publishing them. I am torn. Do I need to provide fuel for the fire knowing some people might steal these images and use them to inspire hate? On the other hand, they contain a powerful message; they are powerful pieces of art that should be contemplated.
And of course, some could also see Trump himself as a political stereotype. Has he created a divide in political perception that republican politicians are all money-hungry, corrupt, and self-indulgent? Or comically, is he responsible for perpetuating the myth of the Trophy Wife?
Art should provoke, inspire, enlighten, and challenge. This project was difficult to undertake but essential to produce. My hope is that it encourages you to think, read, and, most of all, vote for change.
Special thanks to many creative collaborators on this project that saw the vision and power of the images and volunteered their time to help our team create an important body of work. Creatively I was inspired by Irving Penn’s use of the corner set to create a fixed world point of view for each stereotype. I was also inspired by seeing Eugenio Recuenco’s 365° project where he used a window in a set as a source of light. I chose to make this window long and narrow like a jail cell to imply that stereotypes themselves incarcerate.
Please also note that these images should not be used without expressed written permission. They are not to be ever removed from this article and published anywhere in anyform without explaining their purpose and intent. Any use without written consent will be considered willful copyright infringement. Please contact me for permission if you would like to share any of this content. Thank You.
Retouching by Jana Heidenreich
CGI Post by Mike Campau @mikecampau
Props: Brittany Brenner @britttbren and Liz Ream @lizreamstylist
Wardrobe: Loren Robles @there.he.roams
Hair and Make Up: Natalie Bohlin @nataliebohlin and Breanne McNally @breannemcnally and Marybeth Bagonghasa @muah_artist
Creative Direction Assistance on Republican, Priests, Math, and Homemakers: Christyl O'Flaherty @christyloflaherty.official
Set Design: Art Haynes @therealarthaynes