I don’t think Luke Austin’s entirely that badly intentioned but I do think from the photographs I’ve seen they still seem stereotyped. But in the sense that they’re almost always passive figures, sometimes not looking at the camera. Maybe I haven’t seen the rest of it. Though I think what would’ve helped is to add a much wider variety. He probably does by now but I do think a wider variety (or even a subversion of it) would’ve helped.
Along with being actually influenced by black photographers though that too wouldn’t always help things either. Whilst not always the case for even black photographers, there generally is a difference. It’s like the difference between the way Wilson Munene photographs himself (at times) and the way other black men are portrayed by white men. Whilst some of it’s practically indistinguishable, there are some portrayals where he and a colleague act out something for a campaign.
They even had fun with it and continued to appear as aliens when visiting the supermarket. Better yet, there’s a big difference between the way Ajamu X and Rotimi Fani-Kayode portray black men versus their white counterparts (Tony Butcher, David Gregham and Robert Mapplethorpe). In the former, some of them don’t just look at the camera but also exhibit a wider range of expressions.
Same with Shikeith (who even bothers depicting naked black men crying), Christian Padron (similar) and Myles Loftin (who depicts happy young black men in colourful hoodies). Through their lived experiences (though not always the case), these seem much more authentic and perhaps far more human than the way they would be portrayed by white and most non-black photographers.