by Maria Sofou
Photographer Donna Pinckley has captured a stunning series of photographs featuring interracial couples along with handwritten hateful comments that have been thrown their way. The project entitled Sticks And Stones (inspired by the rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”) explores the couples’ experiences with rascism and ignorance and the shocking words they have been told – coming from a wide range of age brackets and locations, all these people share having been treated with prejudice and hate.
However, more than anything else, apart from exploring this difficult part of their relationship, the series celebrates love and the true partnerships its protagonists have built, remaining unbroken despite all the hard moments. Truly inspiring.
“The “Sticks and Stones” photography series began with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother and I were catching up in the kitchen when she told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking I was reminded of another mother in another kitchen many years ago, whose daughter had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me was the resilience of both couples in the face of derision, their refusal to let others define them. Two years ago I began photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. I began adding the hateful words they have been subjected to at the bottom of the images as a reminder of how part of society sees them,” Pickley explains.
All images © Donna Pinckley