Fortunato Castro, an openly gay art student at Cooper Union in New York City, has created a senior thesis that is as visually stunning as it is emotionally moving. The 27-year-old has produced a photography series in which he emulates pictures of his mother from her youth.
"At first I think I was hesitant to make these images because I’m not a woman and I don’t want to be a woman," he says about the project. "I’m not a drag performer. And I think, being a gay man, it’s very easy for someone to put you in that hole—like, That’s a man who wants to be a woman, which isn’t what this work is about at all. I’m very protective of my mother, and I think it was really important for me to make the images as honest as they are, because they’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. And my mother isn’t perfect. I think because the images are sort of about a false reality, the only element of truth I could have is that vulnerability."
To see more of the photos and learn more about Fortunato's Salvadoran, story-telling mother, you can read the full story here.