Angie Cruz

Who Am I?

Senior Project December 2013


Stereotypes are a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person. It’s human nature to automatically place preconceived ideas, whether they negative or positive, on to someone upon initial interaction. It is easiest to respond with negative comments then something positive. Influences can make the public have stereotypical reactions towards a person’s skin tone, dress, and are often formed by social media, music, movies, television shows advertising and the list just goes on.  There really isn’t a reason behind why society thinks the way they do when everyone may have a different outlook on things, but instead they think the way they do because it is what they were accustomed to. People have the power to change their mindset of others in a positive way and they can forget the negative thoughts that come to their minds and make this world into a better place for everyone.

Initially the focus for my senior project was on the stereotypes associated with Fraternity and Sorority Life but upon further research I realized that stereotypes are a broader and pervasive issue in the world. My intention is to create a series of art works that allows the viewers to confront their own stereotypical ideas and I want people to realize that the stereotypes they put on strangers are socially conditions, not always accurate and are often negative. We, as a society, have learned to judge people, from our family members, coworkers, to even our closest friends. Personally, people that don’t know me because of my association with Greek Life, my skin tone and my name, which has Hispanic roots, have stereotyped me. Unfortunately, we are all programmed to categorize people we don’t know so we know how to interact with them. It’s a major issue in today’s world because if people never judged one another on appearance and actually got to know them for whom they were, they would be shockingly surprised of the relationship they could build. Personally, I pride myself on not judging people by their outside appearance but this is something I have struggled with and had to make a huge effort to learn how to do. I want my project to raise awareness and understand that this may be an uncomfortable experience for some of my viewers but I want emotions to be struck and make them aware of the stereotyping they may be doing of people just on their outside appearance.

I chose photography as my artistic medium because I was able to capture the different stereotypes that people are so easily to judge. I have identified and photographed 6 subjects and each represents a different stereotype. I decided to use a Nikon D3100 with a 50mm lens to shoot my different subjects because the 50 mm lens is known to represent what the human eye sees normally. After taking the photos, I uploaded my photo into Photoshop converted to them black and white and to make sure all the details are still seen. The 6 images are 20”x60” because I wanted the subjects to be life size. The only color in my project is the red writing on the walls that spontaneously contributed by the viewers.  This is an interactive art piece and I encourage the viewers to write on the walls using the red watercolor markers under the statement “Please write the first word that come to your mind”. The subjects I picked are from all over parts of Florida and I specifically avoided using subjects from the FGCU community or the close surroundings area. Please participate and write your initial thoughts of these strangers, the subjects will never know anything you have written about them.

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