The Mud Series
People all over the world, specifically in the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have a belief that in the beginning humanity was created out of dirt, out of mud. The book of Genesis tells the story by stating, “the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (2:7). In the Koran, God says, “We created man of clay that gives forth sound, of black mud fashioned in shape” (15:26). All of these religious traditions also adhere to the belief that humanity was created in the image of God as is evidenced by the passage in Genesis which reads “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (1:27).
History has however, ignored this simple doctrine. Racism, apartheid, and hatred have all flourished throughout human history, often under the banner of religion. Even now, in the twenty-first century, decades after the monumental civil rights movement, segregation and prejudice still exist in the United States. Throughout the world, in various countries, the problems are even graver with groups violently killing one another simply because of different religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds. Even in this modern age of science and reason, when science has clearly shown that humans are human, regardless of skin color, it is difficult to understand how racism can still hold such a prominent position in our world.
This body of work is meant to portray humanity in a broad spectrum. We are diverse, beautiful, and filled with emotion. We live, love, laugh, and we cry. Yes, there are different tones to our skins and yes we may be divided but different cultural identities. But in the end, we must all admit that we are human and whether or not one ascribes to the monotheistic creation myth of God forming man from dust, from mud; we must admit that one day we will all end up returning to the ground, to the mud. Our humanity connects us, our fragility brings us together, and our emotions make us a united race of individuals.
Humanity is beautiful.
Jason James Lemon
Special thanks to the models: Ben, Marlisa, Emily, Matt, Dwayne, Rachel, Alex, Lizzie, Richelle, and William. Also, thanks to Nic for artistic direction on the project and to Stephanie for helping out with hair and make-up.