How often have you seen images of Jesus with dark blonde hair and blue eyes? In several films and television shows, white actors have always played the roles of Biblical characters even though they would have been from parts of the Middle East or Africa.
Photographer James C. Lewis of Noire3000 | N3K Photo Studios decided to do something to fix this problem. His “Icons Of The Bible” photo series depicts some of the Bible’s most well known characters as people of color including King David, King Solomon and Elijah.
Lewis tells The Huffington Post that the “whitewashing” of the Bible bothered him and it’s important to be able to see yourself in Scripture:
“I think it is very important to see one’s self in the Scripture so that it may become real in their eyes. The whitewashing of the Bible has always bothered me. However I’m happy to now have the opportunity to give a different point of view.”
The series will be fully released in October and features 70 models who identify as either Asian, Native American, Hispanic, African, Middle Eastern, Black American and Indian.
Of course this is Lewis’ interpretation of Biblical figures so no one should take it as being completely accurate. I believe that this will definitely spark conversation. Lewis says:
“I wish to exhibit a splash of color onto the biblical pages of history with my creative embellishments. By doing so I hope to open the minds and eyes of the ignorant and create open conversations of how we can learn to see the world through colorful lenses. After all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is intended for everyone.”
Check out a few images below.
If you want to see the series in person, it will be on display from November 2014 until February 2015 in Atlanta.