I see myself as a visual communicator. Over the last 33 years I’ve been tasked to convey a variety of ideas, thoughts and emotions. Most often that means photographing people, finding the right pose, or the right expression.
But the subtle difference in a smile can convey many different things, as one viewer of the image can see confidence while other can see standoffish-ness
Even showcasing certain professions can be challenging. I have to use a certain visual shorthand to get ideas across and it’s very easy to veer into a stereotype which is defined as “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.”
Let me give you a few examples:
When you read the word “Farmer” what’s the very first image that pops into your mind?
For me it’s someone wearing a plaid shirt and baseball cap, staring out over a field of wheat.
When you read the word “Doctor” what do you see?
For me, I see someone wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope around their neck.
Now, think of the images that popped into your mind and ask yourself these questions: What gender are they? What colour is their skin?
If I’m truly honest I’ll admit in both examples I saw white men. That’s my unconscious bias at work.
As a creative and visual communicator I have to constantly ensure that the work I create reflects the diversity and inclusive culture we all aspire towards.
When Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman approached me with the idea of a body of work that allows you to confront that bias and become more aware of it, I saw a huge opportunity and was excited to work on this project. We worked hard to find a selection of people that represented our community.
The #Bias Outside the Box (BOB) is a tool for anyone looking to have an honest conversation with themselves about their own implicit bias / unconscious bias . This is a simple and straightforward tool that helps move professionals of all kinds develop that insight needed to make their organisations more inclusive.
I want to say a sincere thank you to the many subjects who graciously agreed to participate in the project.