#HateisaVirus Campaign by Reinhardt Kenneth
“A near future, post COVID-19 dystopia, featuring consequences of error in human behavior, starring empowered Asian models – in face masks”
That exact world came to Reinhardt’s mind as he woke up to a swarm of Coronavirus-related news pre-quarantine one Tuesday morning. Times felt uncertain, as the news highlights videos of Asian Americans all over the country getting harassed and assaulted left and right out of blame and hatred. Images of groceries running out of daily essentials and produces also spark the internet, raising a thought in his head. That same thought was the world he wanted to create, not to glamourize a pandemic, but to raise awareness. He personally thinks that, as deadly as it is to contract the Coronavirus, blame, hatred, xenophobia, mass hysteria, and the abuse of privilege is an even deadlier Virus.
After pitching the idea to a few of his collaborators, he formed a group of creative to, together, create art in the state of panic to together raise an awareness, raise conversations, provide a voice to the voiceless, and heal through art. Hosted by the amazing Haven City Market in Rancho Cucamonga, the shoot took place on the last day before Southern California was on lockdown. As the old saying goes “everything happens for a reason”, from location, minimal set design, to teamwork, Reinhardt and his amazing group of creative together collaborated to create the most powerful & dynamic images.
The first look was heavily inspired by traditional Asian clothing with a modern spin. Reinhardt wanted the “survivors” of the pandemic to resemble Asian warriors to symbolize empowerment to those who might have suffered xenophobia and hate crime in this time. The xenophobia (not only to Chinese, but to all different Asian nationalities) comes out of blame due to the virus coming from China. We wanted to make sure to highlight these warriors with protest signs, ones that come out of unity and love. Words like “Hate is a Virus” and “I am not a Virus” symbolizes the whole community to come together and protest, out of love.
The second look features the girls with colorful yarn pigtails in white dresses surrounded by facemasks flying everywhere. We made sure to, even though symbolic, be mindful and not waste the rare facemasks. Only 5 facemasks were thrown repeatedly in the images and quickly dusted off and sanitized after (everything else was post work). The images represent a dystopia in the future when these facemasks are already waste, and that there is a mass hysteria to, instead of prioritize them for medical needs, hoard them and turn them to waste.
The third look features the girls in monochromatic vibrant colors. The look might be high fashion luxurious steampunk, but these girls lie on an ocean of Coronavirus-related waste. From excessive hand soap and sanitizer bottles to medical gloves, once again this picture comments on the panic buying culture that’s going on, leaving too much waste in the apocalyptic future due to panic. Instead of being mindful and only purchasing what you need, the panic the pandemic has caused ends up being mountains of waste. Apart from that, the juxtaposition between the luxurious looking girls and the waste tackles on the abuse and selfishness privilege may bring.
The fourth and last look features the girls posing in front of a “graveyard of shopping carts”. This refers to greed, due to the scarcity of produces due to hoarding and panic buying, the “girls from the future” have found only a graveyard of what used to be carts used to put produces. This shows the world that greed can achieve.
As each and every image tackles different negative human behaviors in this pandemic, these images are made to create an awareness. Yes, it may be fantastical and aesthetically pleasing artistically, but this is the world we do not want to live in. This is a world that, if we keep on practicing these selfish and hateful behaviors, we will eventually achieve. Together, let’s help flatten the curve, but during this quarantine, even through social distancing learn to be as kind, compassionate, mindful, and as educated as possible.
About the Artist:
Reinhardt Kenneth is an Indonesian Fashion/Celebrity Photographer based in Los Angeles. Through his dynamic and fantastical work, Reinhardt always tries to leave a deeper message in his photographs, whether that being empowerment, awareness, or compassion. As a self taught photographer since the age of 14, the 1997 born artist hopes to not only create aesthetically pleasing images, but leave an impact in the audience’s lives. Reinhardt has previously been featured in Vogue Italia, The Louvre’s Digital Exhibition, Art Basel Miami, LA Art Show, and many more.
“Leaving my Mark, One Shot at a Time”
Team Credits: #HateisaVirus Photography & Creative Direction: Reinhardt Kenneth Special thanks to Haven City Market for the hospitality Producer: Thomas Bang Fashion Stylist: Michelle Wu Campaign Supporter: Michelle K Hanabusa at Uprisers World & Hate is a Virus Fashion: Special thanks to The Archives & Showroom featuring looks from Diana Couture, Michael Ngo, Kenneth Barlis, Gregory Kara, Zlatko Jovanovski, Weird Brain Creation, Roman Thevenin Paris &The One&Only UPRISERS Lighting Director: Summer Wuerthner Make Up Artist: Eiko Watanabe Hair Stylist: Carisa Arellano Videography: Randy Vu & Joe Rojas Models: Mei Li Zheng at Mazza Models & Priscila Natalina Photographer's Assistant: Jenna Nikole & Rieannon #ThePhotographicSense