I choose to look through the lens in order to see. The language of photography helps me understand how I position myself in the world, where I’ve come from and where I might go next.
Turning the camera’s eye towards the community, I created Project Luz, a nomadic space to share, learn and experiment using photography and art as a tool of empowerment for immigrant communities. In Project Luz workshops, participants get to know the city and learn to tell it’s stories. For many of them it is their first exposure to art and self-expression. Through the workshops we prove that teaching art is a tool which connects people with communities and opens a dialogue of understanding and social strength. It creates a vehicle to help people explore and map identity issues.
Inspired by lighting classes I taught at Project Luz, I have begun a series of studio portraits using a solid color background. I photograph dancers, wrestlers and other characters from urban culture, letting them reveal to my lens the characters they wish to be. This includes photographing a group of women that belong to a Native American/Mexica dance troupe which holds rehearsals in public spaces like parks and museums. The culture of their dance, which originated from the Aztecs, has become a way of life for them. Through dancing, they are conserving their roots while living in the present.
By photographing them, I want to address issues about Indigenous women’s pride in being Native American. The series is a portrayal of contemporary Indigenous women of the Americas as the embodiment of living history; a representation of the realities of Mexica, Taina, and other women from South America.
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