Photographer Collaborates With Subjects To Give Black Men A New Type Of Self-Portrait

Beyond realistic.

Photographer Kris Graves was tired of seeing black men in American demonized by the media and portrayed as either very rich or very poor, so he created the Testament Project, which captures individual black men as they would like to be shown. Graves collaborated with every subject by giving them full control of color and lighting in each portrait.

"I was inspired to make this series because I had never directly made a photography project based on my own experiences as a black man in America," Graves wrote to A Plus. "Growing up black means that you are always sharing stories of discrimination with your family and friends. Always. I thought it was important for me to try and show that through photography and video work. The project will have many volumes, this year I plan on introducing some more landscape portraiture, as well as studio photographs of black women."

Here are nine portraits that empower their subjects to tell their own story visually.

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves

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Kris Graves
Kris Graves