From David Rosenfeld’s article for Slate, “Stunning Portraits of Black Men That Accurately Portray How They See Themselves,” discussing Kris Graves’ series “The Testament Project”:
If you were one of Kris Graves’ subjects for his series, “The Testament Project,” having your portrait taken most likely felt like an extended hangout. Graves photographed 25 men who were friends or family in the series, spending hours with each one (and sometimes with more than one subject at a time) during which they would catch up on each other’s lives and talk about “politics, music, entertainment, and money.”
The portraits Graves took, however, were more than just a friendly collaboration with some important people in his life. They were a way for Graves to portray black men in a new way, one that tried to avoid the misrepresentation with which Graves feels black men are viewed—either demonized, ridiculed, or idolized—in popular culture.
He described the work as “an exploration of black identity in a modern way. Not the black identity that has been given to black people.”