Photographer and director Mark Leibowitz – who has worked with such esteemed publications as Esquire, GQ, Glamour and New York Magazine, and brands including Instagram, Netflix, HBO and Tom Ford – has launched “The Stereotypes Project,” an online exhibition that examines the personal and social ramifications of the stereotypes that Americans place on each other.
The exhibition seeks to help viewers recognize when they are stereotyping others so they can move beyond those stereotypes with less judgment and more listening. Four years in the making, “The Stereotypes Project” comprises more than 30 interviews with individuals with diverse backgrounds and stories, from cities across the country. Leibowitz enlisted friends such as writer and activist Jameela Jamil and actor Nick Gonzalez for the project, and sourced additional subjects with Craigslist ads.
“During the campaign leading up to the 2016 election, I noticed myself stereotyping those with whom I disagreed politically, and I became determined to examine how these stereotypes came about and what I could do about them,” recalled Leibowitz. “The journey of ‘Stereotypes’ asks us to listen more, to judge less, and to take action to change. This is my small contribution to helping heal the divide and reconcile our differences as a nation.”
Utilizing still photography with voiceovers, “The Stereotypes Project” first asks audiences to judge each subject based solely on their face, then with the added context of their clothing and body image, and finally, in their environment. Each interview asks the individual the following questions:
· How do other people view you?
· How do you view yourself?
· How do we reconcile the difference?
Activist Jameela Jamil stated, “I’m not just here to stick to a rulebook because the rulebook until now has housed a lot of predatory, bad people, so I think we need to burn the rulebook and start again,” Jamil continued by saying. “You are not what society tells you what you should be. You are just you and that’s brilliant.”
The exhibition, including select public submissions, can be fully experienced at https://www.leibowitzpictures.com/stereotypes-stories, and is also available on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Mark Leibowitz is a director and photographer whose work has been commissioned by advertisers, brands, film and television studios, publishers, and other media outlets worldwide. Leibowitz has shot editorial work for top publications including Esquire, GQ, Glamour, Condé Nast Traveler, New York Magazine, Town & Country and The Hollywood Reporter. He later expanded into the world of advertising, producing imagery for iconic brands like Google, Instagram, Netflix, HBO, Dove, Veuve Clicquot, Tom Ford and Verizon, among others. Leibowitz now fluidly works between the roles of photographer, cinematographer and director to create multiplatform content for a wide range of clients. His commissions range from high-end visuals for fashion designers/brands and powerful sports imagery to social media campaigns of cultural movers and shakers. He also has a storefront in Santa Monica called Mark Leibowitz Photography.