Miranda Barnes didn’t have to look far to find the inspiration for her heartwarming photography project.
In her collection, “Doubles,” the 22-year-old photographer from Brooklyn captures the indelible sisterhood of black female twins, glowing with joy and affection for one another.
Her grandmother was a twin and passed away in 2009. The family only has a few photos of the twins together, so Barnes pursued this project as a way to reconnect with her family history and celebrate the kinship among black women — sisters by blood or shared experience.
“When we talk about black women being celebrated for being caring and loving, it’s always in a mothering way but never in a sisterhood way,” she says.
But finding black twins to photograph wasn’t easy.
When the project began, she didn’t know any sets of black girl twins. She met her first pair of twins through a mutual friend and a few more through chance encounters that can only be described as fate. Once, Barnes saw a mom and her twin daughters on the subway.
“She was a tired mom with two kids, and I was like, ‘This is going to sound so weird,'” Barnes says with a laugh. “But she let me into her home, and we’ve remained friends. … It’s funny to see how I met a lot of these people.”
Now, with the project generating so much buzz, twins are approaching her, making the scouting process easier. She even considered expanding the project to include male twins, but after a few shoots, she just wasn’t feeing the same connection to her work. For now, she’s focusing her attention on women and girls.
Barnes hopes her series exudes the joy and warmth she sees in black women each day.
Too often, the media represents black women with stereotypes and tired tropes of the angry black woman or the mamie-like matriarch. Shows like “Living Single” and “Girlfriends” have long been cancelled. Reality programs like “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip-Hop” focus more on backstabbing and fights than genuine relationships.
Undoing generations of stereotypes to celebrate black womanhood, friendship, and sisterhood is no easy task, but it’s vital work.
“I don’t think my photos can change that, but I do like to show a different side of black women that deserves to be shown,” Barnes says.