Before I speak is a series of portraits aimed at questioning social and sub-cultural stereotypes. It’s in our nature to make assumptions about others the moment we lay eyes on them. We don’t mean to be prejudice, it's often an unconscious reaction based on various factors like past experiences, cultural background, and the media amongst others. These assumptions tend to act as defence mechanisms, the problem is that they can create barriers and put us into boxes. This project stemmed from my curiosity about these kinds of generalisations; how true are they? How much can you really tell about someone just by looking at them?
I decided to use my camera and a microphone as ice breakers to start a dialogue with people on the streets, I wanted to see whether the characters I had created in my mind from afar were in anyway true to reality. The following portraits are the result of my interactions with strangers I stopped on the streets of Bristol.
I recorded a short interview with each person in which I asked quite personal questions about their lives and their views on the world. These short recordings offer another dimension to their portraits; the answers they gave me help to break down those initial barriers, and instead create a human commonality, whilst the tone and speed of their voice helps to paint a mental image of their personality.