Dallas-based photographer and former U.S. Marine Joel Parés’ powerful portrait series Judging America embodies the age-old idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Through these photos, Parés seeks to challenge any prejudices that viewers may hold against other people based on race, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, or appearance.
Each image consists of two portraits of a person. The viewer first sees a photo personifying a stereotype, and then is immediately confronted by the second photo, which works to dispel the stereotype by highlighting the person as he or she really is. Parés aims to show that not all black men are thugs or gangsters; not all Muslims are terrorists; not all Mexicans are gardeners. The series demonstrates how preemptively judging a person can result in assumptions that may be false and even harmful.