One Photo Prompts Much-Needed Conversation About Latino Identity

By Qimmah Saafir Apr 02, 2015

A photo taken by Dominican photographer Edgar Núñez,* featuring nine women of varying skin tones, has gone viral sparking conversation of race within the Latino community. It first appeared in a tweet in February by user UsDominicans809 that read, "They’re all dominican; so next time somebody says "you don’t look dominican" tell that dumbass, we’re all unique." 

Núñez was unaware of the popularity his photo had gained until very recently. The photo was one of his "Como Hermanas" series launched in 2011 and originally inspired by a famous photograph "The Nude" by Herb Ritts with supermodels Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Naomi Campbell — that spoke to race misconceptions and Latino identity among Dominicans and within the Latino community as a whole.

The title "Como Hermanas," loosely meaning "Like Sisters," came about through the photographer’s desire to push the idea of global connectivity, regardless of the diverse racial demographics of Latin America. 

According to

More than 90 percent of Dominicans possess some degree of African descent — and the very first rebellion of black slaves occurred here in 1522,’ according to The Root. But, in the federal census, most recently, 82 percent designated their race as "indio", while only 4.13 percent designate themselves as black.

Núñez hopes to further the conversation of Latino identity through his art:

This next time around I want to focus on the origin of our race as Indians. We are all brothers and sisters. Dominicans should be able to appreciate our natural beauty. It should never be censored.

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*Post updated to reflect that Edgar Núñez uses accent marks in his last name and that his first name is Edgar, not Edward.