HUMAN – An Ongoing Series by Apaige Photography

I created this project with a mindset of political resistance.
I was and am mad about the diversion of our country, the separation of families, and the outright racist comments that are being allowed in America, today.

I am photographing different genders, races, sexual identities, sexual preferences, and trying to get a large range of people to represent humans in America. Obviously I am confined to Grand Rapids, Michigan, so I am reaching out as far as I can to achieve this difference.

Aesthetically each image is created with a pretty minimal background. I am interested in finding a good contrasting range of white, greens, and tan backgrounds to create difference yet similar editing feeling. I have my models wear black for not only consistent imagery, but for the mourning of our country and the state we are currently in. 

While photographing this session, I ask 6 main questions, which sometime spiral into other conversations. I record these conversations and let my model be aware of me doing so. I ask them about their cause they fight for in their life, what they hope to be in the future, what specific things in their past catapulted them into their current lifestyle, what negative experiences have they turned positive, how this current administration is helping or hurting them, and what they want to change about the world or explain to the world by using my images.

After that I ask them to give me 5 characteristics that they think summarize who they are as a person. From there we go down the list together and pick one that stands out above the rest. I have them write down on their body their age, biological sex [if they are non-binary they may choose o or both m/f], and that characteristic. 
This labeling on them does not have to be necessarily prominent in my photograph, but it is there, and if the viewers are paying attention enough, they will start to see these labels.
The titles of the pieces are the models first name, and a quote that they said that really struck me. 

These quotes are taken from the recordings, in which I re-listen to again and again while I take notes, to really find the perfect one. 

The images are supposed to be confident, strong, and confrontational. I do not photograph down on them, but either at eye-level or up. I have passed by beautiful images because they didn’t represent the models as strong or represented some females as too feminine instead of empowered. The facial expressions are serious, but human, and almost resting face. The images chosen are after our long discussion and questioning of the past and the present. 

When all images are up in a space, it is my intention that the viewer will automatically see the difference in gender, race, and sexuality, however, that none of the models are labeled by those things. Instead they are labeled as Human qualities: first names, age, sex, characteristic, and opinion. They are not labeled their race, their sexuality, their preference for who they love. 

We are human. We need to co-exist as humans. We need to treat humans as humans. And as an animal advocate I firmly believe if we do not treat humans as humans, we will not see the advancement of how society treats innocent animals.