O Magazine Photographs Aim to Have ‘Honest and Passionate’ Conversation About Race

In the May 2017 issue of O Magazine, a series of photographs by Chris Buck challenges the concept of race by showcasing white people in roles that stereotypically shown as minorities.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

In one of the photographs, a group of Asian women, seated in a nail salon, are getting pedicures by white women. In another photograph, a young white girl stands before a wall display filled with black dolls.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

The third photograph shows a Hispanic woman seated in a luxury home getting served by a white maid. These photographs, according to O Magazine aims to challenge and help encourage an “honest and passionate conversation” about race.

The series of photographs appear in O Magazine by Buck who was commissioned to do the work.

“I feel like whenever I photograph someone of color, I have some awareness of the fact that they have a different background than me. One thing I try to do is to treat people to same. If you look at my book of portraits, you see people of color. You’ll see they look just as awkward as my pictures of White people. My portraits are about the vulnerability and humanity of individual people. I want to see that in people of all different backgrounds.”

Conversations about race is often a difficult issue among a multi-ethnic society in the United States. Lucy Kaylin, editor-i- chief of O Magazine said the idea for the race series came from Oprah.  Kaylin said,

“The main thing we wanted to do was deal with the elephant in the room — that race is a thorny issue in our culture, and tensions are on the rise. So let’s do our part to get an honest, compassionate conversation going, in which people feel heard and we all learn something — especially how we can all do better and move forward.”

In addition to the series of photos, blog posts about racism including a post by Monique Truong who wrote about the racist names her classmates called her as a Vietnamese growing up in North Carolina.

As Truong wrote, it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up to the indignities of racism. With photo series as these, hopefully, we come one step closer to a reality where everyone is treated with dignity and humanity.