My “Taboo” Photos

This week’s Photoboxing theme is “taboo” and my approach was the same as every photo, I approached it from the inside out. The challenge with creating this photo was that things once considered taboo are now common — tattoos, piercings, premarital sex and interracial relationships to name a few. But there are still things considered taboo because of the cultural differences that divide us and make it difficult for us to relate.

This was my first concept, tackling the extreme lengths people go to for beauty. In America, it’s plastic surgery and other chemical enhancements while in other cultures it’s practices such as scarification, foot-binding and neck-stretching. This photo was inspired by the Kayan people and the practice of women stretching their necks to be more beautiful.

Upon reviewing the neck-stretching photo, I wasn’t satisfied. It was too “beautiful” and not taboo enough for me, so I decided to shoot another.

My final concept is inspired by Minstrel shows and blackface. In Hawaii, racial stereotypes are a common source for humor — everyone makes fun of everyone’s race; It’s part of our culture. But beyond Hawaii there continues to be a very, very fine line between humor and offensiveness. As much as people hate to admit it the minstrel show and blackface is a part of American culture and that fascinates me. The look is also so incredibly iconic, I knew it would be immediately recognizable.

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