Updated 09:31 PM EDT, Thu, Apr 22, 2021

Eva Longoria & Other Straight Celebrities Pose as Same-Sex Couples to Break Homophobia Stigma

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A new photography project has brought straight celebrities together to pose as same-sex couples as a way to break the stigma surrounding homophobia.

The photo series called "Imaginary Couples" was created by French artist and photographer Olivier Ciappa, the Huffington Post reported. The project has been showcased in galleries and cities globally, such as Paris, Lima, Beirut, Montreal, and various German cities, AfterEllen listed.

Ciappa's snapshots featured "Telenovela" star Eva Longoria posing with Belgian-Canadian singer Lara Fabian, and "Sicario" director Denis Villenueve with "Dallas Buyers Club" filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee, the news outlet wrote. French actresses Melanie Laurent and Audrey Dana also posed for the project, AfterEllen added.

According to Ciappa, he found the inspiration for the project from homophobic receptions he came across with all over the world, particularly after the legalization of same-sex marriage in France, the Huffington Post added.

Hundreds of thousands of French citizens protested on the streets of Paris against the law in 2013, NY Mag reported. After talking to the protesters, Ciappa found out that majority of them do not know any gay people, and that they were protesting because of fear of the unknown than anything else.

"The celebrities that I shot are heterosexual, but it was essential to me that you would believe these imaginary couples and families they portray were real," Ciappa told the Huffington Post.

He continued, "If you couldn't identify with their love and feel it was real, then I would have failed. And to show that love is love, no matter who [is involved], the exhibition also features real gay families, straight ones, single parents, disabled, people of different skin colors and origins, different religion, young couples, old ones... All of these pictures, imaginary or real, have the same glamorous and warm monochrome style that makes them look not only appealing but timeless."

While shooting the project, Ciappa told his subjects, "You're with the person you love. Not a man, not a woman. Then, at the session, I disappear, for they are one with each other," Advocate quoted.

Ciappa's work received backlash in December 2015, according to AfterEllen. Photos were vandalized from where they were displayed on the gates of the Grand Rond Garden in Toulouse, while others were ruined by homophobic and vile graffiti.

"Imaginary Couples" is indefinitely scheduled to head to the United States this summer, probably in Los Angeles, NY Mag noted. Ciappa said that he will continue to promote the movement and recruit more big names.

Check out more photos on Ciappa's website.

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