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Jonathan Stone for Art-Sheep

“In Others’ Words,” is a project by Brooklyn-based photographer Lauren Renner that captures the vulnerability and self-doubt of people, due to what others see in and think of them. Inspired by a period in her life where she started dating women, Renner noticed that people began treating her differently, while they labeled her sexuality. The photographer, whose personality of course, hadn’t change just because of her sexual orientation, was fascinated with how people in general, proceed stereotyping other people according to their body types, love lives and features. For her project, Renner chose public spaces to photograph her subjects who had written stereotyped descriptors on each others’ bodies. Exposing their personal space and vulnerability to others, Renner captured her models in their most pure and true self.

“When it comes down to it, no matter who is labeling you, all of those words and constructs become a mish-mash inside of you, and seem to inform each other. Words carry a tremendous amount of power, which is why breaking away from some and holding onto others can feel so insurmountable. On the flip side of that coin, I think people tend to become very comfortable in the ways in which they categorize others, to the point where they may not even be aware that they’re doing it in the first place. After all, at the end of the day we put people into boxes because subconsciously it makes them easier for us to mentally digest. Seeing people view my work for the first time was a huge experience for me because I got to see how people reacted when the boxes they were accustomed to had been taken away,” explains the photographer.

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