High-profile mass shootings have brought gun control to the forefront of U.S. social debate. The responses on both sides of the argument have become extreme, with neither engaging the other in a discussion to resolve the issue.
In this series, Armed and ..., the idea is to witness the viewer's and subject's own reaction to a loaded firearm. On the left side of the diptych, the sitter is depicted empty-handed yet knowing they will be given a loaded firearm as a prop for the next exposure. On the right side, the sitter is then photographed holding the gun. All 18 diptychs use a gray seamless backdrop in order to isolate the sitter from any external context. As a result, the viewer and sitter must confront their own prejudices regarding the power of the object being held. For the sitter, we witness how they carry themselves while in possession of a lethal weapon. All the subjects came with different levels of firearms knowledge that range from never seeing a real gun to having extensive training and carry permits. Depending on their understanding, each sitter's mood changed after receiving the gun. The changes shifted from subtle to very pronounced.
The gun control debate is not likely to be soon resolved. The intent of this project is to help facilitate an honest discussion between both sides of the gun control debate.