Photographer Recreates Famous Brand Adverts to Highlight Lack of Diversity in the Industry

Photographer Recreates Famous Brand Adverts to Highlight Lack of Diversity in the Industry

Does the world of advertising suffer from a lack of diversity? One photographer certainly thinks so, and to highlight the issue, has faithfully recreated some of the best known advertising campaigns of recent years to imagine what they would look like with a black model instead of the white models predominately used within the industry. Entitled "Black Mirror," the project is the work of Los Angeles-based photographer Raffael Dickreuter and his girlfriend, model Deddeh Howard. Dickreuter believes it was being part of an interracial couple which first opened his eyes to the lack of diversity in the photography of many of the world’s leading brands.

We live in a globalized world now, with many interracial couples producing the next generation of mixed races. I feel that is not represented much by all the big brands out there.

Undertaking the "Black Mirror" project by recreating famous campaign images of brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and more was not without its fair share of challenges. In order to give most impact to the issue, Dickreuter wanted to match the style and mood of the each image as closely as possible. From calculating how the advertisements were lit to scouting locations to match the original, he knew from the start that undertaking this project would be a daunting task. 

The biggest challenge turned out to be the shot I was most passionate about: the Guess campaign with Gigi Hadid on an old motorcycle. It took a while to even figure out what exact motorcycle that was. Simply similar would not cut it. It turned out that it was a rare 1939 Indian Chief, and only very few exist.

In undertaking the Black Mirror project, Dickreuter and Howard hope to shine a light on the lack of diversity within the world fashion and advertising by demonstrating how many of the campaign images would work equally well with black models as well as white. 

Simply too many fashion shots these days look all the same. More creativity would be amazing and would also provide great opportunities for us photographers. I hope this project brings some awareness to the issue and just opens up the creative space in the world of advertisement a bit. We live in the year 2016.

All Images used with permission of Raffael Dickreuter

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Paulo Macedo's picture

You people arguing about racial stuff and i'm like "ohh my f**k, look into how he nailed all those shots! Look at the retouching!".

Anonymous's picture

where is the diversity when all of the models are black now ? i do not see the point....
Only one i can see is this way just people can see this and talk about it otherways is just copycat...

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Just another stunt.
Using racism issue for their own advertisement. Apparently it worked if we read about it.

Diversity for the sake of diversity, like anything for the sake of progress, is masturbation.

Brian Dowling's picture

The majority of people on Earth are Asian fyi.

Michael Bartello's picture

Talk about diversity, then use a black girl that is so stereotypically beautiful that she probably represents all of 1% of women around the world. That aside, they're are plenty of famous photos of black women too; the photographer just chose these to make a point.

jonas y's picture

Thank you for the post, and Raffael's work is absolutly beautiful!

jonas y's picture

To those who believe they should decide how others run their business, ask yourself, can you be held accountable for the changes you are suggesting? Because if you don't, your irresponsible decision could really hurt people. Every right comes with responsebility, and those good folks in the branding department and ads companies bear them every day. So I recommend everyone leave others' business alone.

Mark James's picture

Everything they choose in a ad shoot is about selling product. There are very highly paid people that work hard at figuring out what works and what doesn't. It's all about the target market and what will subliminally appeal to them. Most marketing is based around manipulating fragile minds, which means most people. Sometimes a frog does the trick. These highly paid people are making those decisions based on a lot of data. It's nothing personal, it's business. I live on a tropical island with an asian tourist base so we always make sure that demographic is included in marketing shoots.

While the story is nice and his photography is very well done, I think that maybe his ideas about the the lack of diversity in fashion, or product placement photography are skewed (obviously). to assume that companies only book mostly "white" talent is just absurd. They usually use the talent that is relevant at the time of shooting, or talent that fits their target audience.

And if he thinks that other races of models are under represented, maybe he should start a model agency that only deals with "non" white models, and market them that way. I'm all for diversity of choice and people, and why is it alway some white person who has to make a statement about the lack of diversity.

I live near Detroit, I don't hear Black people say that they want more diversity in their neighborhoods or schools, but when it comes to the white neighborhoods and schools they are the first to point it out that there is a lack of diversity.

Now we get this "campaign" of more diversity with models..... well get more black people to go into that career choice..... instead of blaming the industry.

This comment section has been very interesting. As an African-American in marketing, I feel there is an argument for target markets, but there's also still the case that there is a lack of diversity. Most people don't notice it b/c they're white and don't think about a lack of representation in popular magazines.

Some people are getting caught up in the skin and clothing tones being close (even though i see plenty of separation to see the detail of the clothes), but no one points at that the skin of the white models is sometimes close to that of the background. ALSO, backgrounds can change and so can the clothes.

It just feels like a cop out to say it's strictly about target market. How often in your personal projects do you seek out diversity in your models? Judging from some of the portfolios here, not often....

Chris ND's picture

What annoys me is that this man would certainly not have seen the lack of diversity if his girlfriend was not black. This lack of chronic otherness is a disease.