Good at guessing games? Try photographer Dulce Pinzón’s photos, where viewers can guess the racial origins of each model. The real genetic mix is labeled at the bottom of each portrait.
Why play? “When I arrived in NY, I saw a mother with her baby, she was Japanese, the baby I did not know, seemed Mexican, maybe Native. So I went and asked about the father- he was Hindu, great revelation!” Pinzón’s photo-essay aims to destabilize race as a concept, and also the prejudices founded upon it. “In Mexico and Latin America we are deeply racist and classist”, she says, “Any person who is not middle-class or mestizo is an Indian or a naco, as we say in Mexico”.
Pinzón first encountered the “artificiality of commonly accepted boundaries between the different races,” during a casting call through the Village Voice.
The call was for multiracial people, but many who replied had only a vague sense of what “multiracial” meant in practice. And it was impossible to easily “categorize” the multiracial people, whose faces resisted analysis as simple amalgams of traits from single “races”- no purely White noses, Native eyes, Asian hair.
“People with an exotic mix are profoundly beautiful because, under the surface, their personal stories are so complex and interesting,” reflects Pinzón.
She lets the complexity speak for itself in her images: simple and direct half-length portraits looking at the camera, subjects dressed in either red, blue or yellow against a contrasting background. The natural boundaries between primary colors highlight how artificial and fluid the boundaries between various “races” really are.
Dulce Pinzón was born in Mexico City in 1974. She studied mass media communications at the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla and photography at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 1995 she moved to New York, where she studied at the International Center of Photography. Pinzon’s work has been exhibited, published, and collected internationally. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Esopus, Marie Claire (South Africa and Thailand editions), Mother Jones, Rolling Stone (Italian edition), Vice, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, La Jornada (Mexico), Reforma (Mexico), and El País (Spain).