Freelance photographer Bryon Summers started a photo series in July titled We Love You — a visual tribute to black men in America, and an outlet for the reclamation of their image in light of negative portrayals by the mainstream media.
Summers' goal, the Huffington Post reports, is to photograph 1,000 men and share their portraits on his Instagram page, before eventually assembling a book of their images and embarking on a similar project geared toward black women.
"I wanted to find a different and creative way to approach this problem of misrepresentation of black men in mainstream media," Summers wrote in an email to Huffington Post. "This is as much an art project as it is a form of protest. It's creative, nonviolent, and has potential to last for generations if not forever."
To date, Summers has photographed almost 70 men, mostly in Brooklyn, New York, and in Washington, D.C. According to Huffington Post, he plans to travel to a number of other cities to expand the project, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Miami.
He is also selling T-shirts inspired by the project, the proceeds from which will go to the families of victims of police brutality.
"[The project is] aiming to change the current narrative," said Summers, who is from Prince George's County, Maryland. "It's uplifting. It's empowering and beautiful ... The message is in the title ? We Love You ... You're strong, handsome role models and no one can take that away. You're human and should be treated as such."