Joel Parés, a former U.S. Marine turned photographer, traveled the world for 5 years while in the service and during that time his eyes were opened to the many different cultures and people of the world. Seeing how these stark differences exist here at home as well, and the way they affect our society, he created Judging America, a photo series which aims to challenge our prejudices we hold about people based on their appearance.

While we may see tattoos and baggy clothes, what we often don’t realize is the amazing things that the person behind that facade has done. Rather than judging by ethnicity, profession, or sexual orientation, Parés asks us to judge only on one’s merit. For that person whom we assume is a criminal or lowlife may actually be a famous painter, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a brilliant mind working their way through school.


Harvard graduate Jefferson Moon

Judging America

Famous painter Alexander Huffman

Joel Parés

New York City nurse Sahar Shaleem


Pastor/Missionary Jack Johnson


Fortune 500 CEO Edgar Gonzalez

preconceived notions


Stanford Graduate School student Sammie Lee

don't judge people

Iraq Combat Veteran Jacob Williams

marine turned photographer

Widowed mother of 3 Jane Nguyen


iPhone app inventor Joseph Messer


Family outreach program founder Ben Alvarez

preconceived notions