Mandar Parab Asks You to Choose Your Shade
How we identify with our skin color goes far beyond what we see in the mirror, according to this multimedia project “My Shade Is…” by photographer Mandar Parab. Parab asked strangers in New York City’s busy and diverse Union Square to stop and choose from 12 cards that represent different skin tones; then he photographed each person with their cards and recorded a supporting audio clip. But the explanations that each person gave and their reasoning varied greatly: some tried to match their skin exactly while others made selections based on how they are perceived by others, or a more conceptual interpretation based on their experiences.
Parab’s interest in skin color and how it shapes identity comes from his Indian heritage, where racial discrimination due to the country’s Caste system—based on family name and skin color—is still present in some areas.
You can view images and video from the project below. See more on the project website: tvamlabs.com/mandarparab
All photos © Mandar Parab
Video © Matias Oliveira