Fierce Boss Ladies

11 Latina Photographers That’ll Brighten Up Your Instagram Feed

Crafting your passion takes patience, confidence and a whole lot of time. These photographers elevate this art form to a new level, allowing their audience into their creative minds and their intentions. This list of fierce fotógrafas are not only telling stories with their pieces, they are creating community, challenging narratives and carving spaces for themselves in a male-dominated industry.

Exploring these fotógrafas intersectionality, visibility and joy, take a look at the beauty of empowered Latina artists throwing themselves in their work.

1. Arianna Cuesta, Ojos Nebulosos

@cocoandbreezy ????✨ ???? by @leightonpope ????????

A post shared by Chikki (@ojos_nebulosos) on

This Boricua-Dominican photographer seeks to capture truth in the most honest way she knows possible: holding on to her roots and challenging what Afro-Caribbeans and Latinos are “supposed” to look like. Arianna Cuesta, or Ojos Nebuloso, celebrates and demonstrates the multifaceted beauty of being Afro-Latino with projects like her Yemaya and Locs Series. Her portrait style photography echoes an artistic approach demanding her audience to look at Afro-Latinas straight in the eye, acknowledging all of their glory.

2. Glenda Lissette

????????

A post shared by Glenda Lissette (@glendalissette) on

Chicago-based Guatemalteca Glenda Lissette is a multimedia art photographer who is constantly finding new ways to tell her story through color. Distorting her self-portraits and layering her pieces with illustrations, she unapologetically re-creates her reality as a young brown woman seeing herself reflected in all places and spaces.

3. Stefany Ruiz

DC native Stefany Ruiz follows color to tell stories and create opportunities for entrepreneurship. Bringing the eclectic and raw side of her portraits, the salvadoreña crafts a narrative intended to draw the joy of her work. This budding photographer and hyperlocal artist aims to create community in the District while supporting local businesses of color.

4. Zarita Zevallos

[…]

A post shared by Zarita Zevallos (@infi_nerdy_) on

Zarita Zevallos, a Haitian photographer based in New York, is a groundbreaking artist, period. Her stunning visual pieces of work take a hard look at the world around us and unearths what we sometimes feel we cannot verbalize. From delving into Black masculinity with her Kòktèl project to exploring what our self means on social media, Zevallos is a true creative who is pushing the boundaries.

5. Joana Toro

After a break I come back with my serie of Latino and black LGTB voices. November is transgender month of remembrance, many activities happened I want to share some activities and profiles. Meet Tiffany a trans woman who passion for work is well notice in The Center a community place for LGTB communities, providing programs for health, wellness and community connection. “Ten years ago, I was living on the streets, kicked out by my family after I came out as a transgender woman. I was doing whatever I had to do to survive, to make a living and get my hormones, all while trying to avoid terrifying violence and harassment. And then I found The Center. Today, with The Center’s help, I now have health insurance and a doctor who prescribes me safe and affordable hormones. Now I give back to my community as a Center intern, providing HIV testing and support services to my trans brothers and sisters. It feels like my life is finally back on track.” – Tiffany . #translivematter #lgtb #lgtbrights #transgender #translatinx #translatina #blackisbeautiful #transblack #loveislove #pride #joanatoro #newyorkcity

A post shared by Joana Toro (@joanaphoto) on

Self-taught photographer Joana Toro splits her time between New York and Bogota, Colombia. Her documentary styled photography explores human rights, identity and immigration. Letting people tell their own stories with their eyes, their expressions, their pain and their joy, Toro captures the everyday extraordinary moments in life.

6. Jessica Alvarenga

Salvi photographer Jessica Alvarenga is telling her people’s stories, often forgotten by others, amid the political turmoil Latinos are experiencing in the U.S. With her project, Witness the Isthmus, Alvarenga documents the stories of Central Americans in Houston. Exploring the intimacy of her portraits, Alvarenga is a promising artist aiming to expose the unexposed, reveal the nuances of being Central American in the U.S. and celebrate how they move in this world.

7. Maria Lau

Growing up Chinese-Cuban, Maria Lau has used fine art photography to explore her own story, her own fusion of cultures. Her visual form of storytelling is based in oral history, memory and family while experimenting with traditional and digital photography. Her series, “71,” is a decade-long search and desire to unite her Chinese and Cuban families, starting off as a mission to find her Chinese tias in Cuba. Using a double exposure technique, Lau expresses her process and her goal to trace her migration back to the Caribbean.

8. Zuly Garcia

Zuly Garcia’s flowery aesthetic and dreamy portraits of self-love is redefining what beauty means and looks like. Shining her indigenous roots, this Oaxaquena thrives on body positivity, celebrates femininity and exposes internalized racism. With her work, like Flores Politicos, the South Los Angeles photographer interrogates beauty standards and artistically calls that shit out.

9. Helen Salomão

Constelou estrelas por toda casa sem telha… @sabrinaaacastro @estudioeban

A post shared by Helen Salomão (@helesalomao) on

Helen Salomao’s work is an experience encountering visual poetry. The Afro-Brazilian photographer innately grounds herself in dismantling racial stereotypes through street and fashion photography. Using her platform, she focuses on Afro-Brazilian beauty, joy and empowerment. Salomão’s work carves space for Afro-Brazilians to tell their own story and be the protagonists of their reality.

10. Mercedes Zapata

Chicago-based portrait photographer Mercedes Zapata intersects femininity, sexuality and respectability politics—while crashing the patriarchy. Her work focuses on women of color in Chicago, their creativity and how they take control of their own narrative. Zapata’s form of autonomous storytelling reveals an exciting, empowered and women-led art scene in the Chi.

11. Verónica Sanchis Bencomo

Hong Kong-based and Venezuelan bred photographer Verónica Sanchis Bencomo thrives on collaboration. She founded Fotos Feminas in 2014, a platform promoting the work of women photographers based in Latin America and the Caribbean. Developing a deep well of sources, Bencomo has exposed the work of dozens of photographers passionate about telling stories while fostering a community of Latin American women photographers. Both her photography and curatorial work focus on centering the narrative on intimacy.

Read: This Atlanta Duo Uses Photography To Inspire Young Black Latinas To Fall In Love With Their Skin And Hair

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Venezolana Verónica Sanchis Bencomo Started Foto Féminas To Promote Women Photographers In Latin America And The Caribbean

Fierce Boss Ladies

Venezolana Verónica Sanchis Bencomo Started Foto Féminas To Promote Women Photographers In Latin America And The Caribbean

Latin America is in the news again. Today, it’s Venezuela. For the first time in its history, the South American country has two presidents, and each one has fierce support on the country’s streets and in neighboring and distant governments. Images capturing local unrest are once again captivating a global audience, but most of the photos broadcast and published in mainstream media, not unlike coverage of turmoil across Latin America and the Caribbean, are being taken by foreign male photographers, not locals or women, whose critical and varied perspectives during crises like this rarely attract international attention. For five years, Foto Féminas, a platform promoting the work of female photographers from the region, has been fighting to change that, and its efforts are increasingly important.

Created in 2014 by Venezuelan photographer Verónica Sanchis Bencomo, Foto Féminas is elevating a long-overlooked demographic. Through its website, Bencomo features a different Latin American or Caribbean female photographer, sharing their work and story through monthly interviews. On Instagram, these visual artists also have the opportunity to engage with Foto Féminas’ nearly 10 thousand global followers through takeovers that expand their audience beyond the confines of their home countries. The founder also uses this platform to help emerging Latin American women photographers, those who might not yet have the experience or acclaim as her monthly features, but whose talent, too, deserve to be recognized.

“We are all of different ages, backgrounds and come from different countries, but we all share photography and feel that’s what’s most valuable, that we are a community and know about each other and discovered each other’s work,” Bencomo, 32, told FIERCE.

(Courtesy of Foto Féminas)

In recent years, the digital space Bencomo has cultivated, which is now 50 members large, has also expanded into the material world, with Foto Féminas hosting several international exhibitions, photography festivals and gallery speaking events, collaborating with art and photography institutions and creating the first-ever library of photobooks by Latin American female photographers, Biblioteca Foto Féminas – María Cristina Orive.

After working in the industry for about five years, as a photographer, editor, writer and archivist, in cities across England and New York, Bencomo was hungry to discover women photographers in Latin America and interested in seeing the way these locals were covering the stories she was reading about overseas.

“Maybe it’s because I felt slightly or somehow isolated because I was in the UK and New York, and most of the people around me were of other backgrounds. The works I saw were interesting and great, but I wanted to know about our women. That’s why I was always searching,” Bencomo, who now lives in Hong Kong, said.

The photographer, it seems, has been seeking this representation since she first fell in love with the art as a teenager in Caracas. An avid reader of National Geographic, she was drawn to the way photography could be used to inform communities and provide them access to different parts of the world. But in the region she resided in, photography jobs were limited to weddings and events, not the journalism she enjoyed. After graduating high school, her father, urging her to learn English, encouraged her to move to Brighton, England. There, her English teacher, who also spent some time living in Venezuela, suggested that she stay in the country, where she could take courses and even earn a degree in photography. She heeded his advice, first getting a bachelor of technology for photography and later a degree in photojournalism.

(Courtesy of Foto Féminas)

During her time in university and in the industry, Bencomo was introduced to numerous esteemed photographers. Some of them even told her about visual artists in Latin America. Her interest was piqued, and she felt an urgency to discover more. During a three-year gig at Ventana Latina, the art and culture magazine of the oldest Latin American NGO in the United Kingdom, Latin American House, she was given the opportunity to highlight the works of Latin American photographers with monthly interviews for the publication. But soon she realized her features were overwhelmingly of men.

“I researched a lot, but I realized while I was doing this that it was so hard to find women photographers. I was more mature and understanding gender issues, so I began to be more conscious about that,” she said.

Bencomo eventually left England for New York, where she began working as a library assistant at Manhattan’s International Center of Photography, a museum for photography and visual culture and a photography school. While sifting through countless intriguing archives on the job, Bencomo had an idea that could bring all of her interests — gender, Latin America and photography — together.

“I wanted to do something about this, a project, a website, where I could archive and share the content of Latin American women photographers. Everything slowly came together,” she said.

(Courtesy of Foto Féminas)

That’s when Foto Féminas was born. Knowing the barriers that exist for female photographers in Latin America, from being overlooked for assignments that are deemed too dangerous for women or not having the funds to take trips where they can show their portfolio or apply for international awards, Bencomo wanted to create a platform that recognized these women’s work. Additionally, she wanted to use this space to highlight the way local female photographers were telling stories that the world usually sees through the lens of foreign, white men.

According to Bencomo, if this is the only perspective people have access to, they will never have the whole truth. “I left home and there’s a lot of negative news about Venezuela. There’s a lot of truth to that, in Venezuela and elsewhere, but I also come from a family that, despite the struggles and the problems happening in the country, have made things work. There are other more positive and inspiring stories or moving stories,” she said.

In addition to images that highlight state violence and civil unrest, she wants to see photojournalism that captures the spirit of mothers who work two jobs or leave their homelands to provide for their children or that show what it’s like for women to carry a nonviable fetus to term because of stringent abortion laws.

(Courtesy of Foto Féminas)

“The photos we see, the stories we hear, that is one side of the truth, but it’s not the entire picture of Latin America. There can also be other stories to tell,” she said. “I’m interested in seeing variety. I want to see variety. I grew up knowing Caracas is dangerous, but there are other sides as well, and I believe it has to be the same in other countries, too.”

In Hong Kong, thousands of miles away from Latin America, continuing the work of Foto Féminas isn’t always easy. Funding this project with her own pocketbook, she doesn’t always have the means to take flights to the Americas for exhibitions and events. But it’s her passion to break barriers, create opportunities, establish community, shift narratives — including those around the ongoing upheaval in her own nation — and leave a legacy for Latin American and Caribbean women photographers that keep the work afloat.

“It’s all motivation. It’s really motivation that’s the drive,” she said.

Read: In Atlanta, Peruana Curator Monica Campana Is Creating Space For Public Art

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

20 Awkward Prom Photos That Will Make You Relive Your Greatest Moments

hide from home

20 Awkward Prom Photos That Will Make You Relive Your Greatest Moments

Prom is a special time in everyone’s life, whether because you absolutely hated it or you absolutely loved it. Or, perhaps, you even fell somewhere in between… Or, better yet, you both hated it and loved it. I have many nice prom memories and, funnily enough, have even been able to strike the “prom pose” as an adult because those photo instincts never die.

No matter what kind of prom you had, though, it’s a pretty safe bet that you have at least one super awkward prom photo hiding in your albums. There are the photos where you question your date’s hair, where you’re looking off into different cameras, where you’re posing weirdly with your squad. But all of these photos are for the greater good, a.k.a. the joy of reliving those great moments at some point in the future and both laughing and crying over all the awkward prom photos you once took.

In memory of this, here are 20 awkward prom photos that you’re not soon to forget.

1. The #TBT photo where you’re not quite sure about your date’s hair.

leahflytrap/Instagram

You probably felt like a Disney princess in this dress, amirite? That’s the best part, of course. But as for your date’s quasi-Justin Bieber hair, you’re not so sure anymore… Whoops for bad high school judgment.

2. That awkward photo where you both dressed up… as prom’s worst nightmare.

thetankgyrl/Instagram

Jason and Carrie, a match made in heaven? Well, it’s a pretty cool costume for a couple who surely strikes fear into the hearts of all of their besties.

3. The one photo where you’re starting the dancing off early.

blackgirlslayprom/Instagram

Watch me whip, and watch me nae nae. And then watch these prom photos life on for a lifetime, long after you’ve forgotten what it is that you’re doing here.

4. The one where your date is awkwardly much taller than you, even when wearing heels.

margotxoxox/Instagram

Perhaps you should have opted for platform stilettos? You love who you love, but sometimes it’s funny looking back at these oh-so-awkward photos with immeasurable height differences.

5. The one where you and your bestie pose.

allo986/Instagram

Nothing wrong with posing for a photo with your bestie, even if you both look a bit frightened and out of place. After all, that’s what best friends are for, right?

6. The one where your date is definitely NOT ready for that photo.

maisonaurora/Instagram

He looks sweetly surprised by how cute you look (and you do!), but maybe he should be facing the camera instead? Yeah, this definitely makes things a bit awkward.

7. The obligatory kissing photo…

ps_burlesque/Instagram

Everyone absolutely LOVES love, but maybe you should leave those kissing pictures to yourselves. Of course, you can’t help but take this, so we don’t blame ya.

8. The one where you’re in an equal relationship.

mansionlvr/Instagram

Hey, if you have to pose awkwardly with your bum to your partner, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t do the same. At least you both look mega hot, amirite?

9. The photo where you’re single and ready to mingle.

benandmarissado/Instagram

Absolutely nothing wrong with being single when you head to prom, and especially if your memories include taking awkward solo photos amongst super fancy backdrops. Thanks, mom.

10. The one where there’s balloons and awkward smiles.

brookiebee4/Instagram

Let’s be honest: You have NO idea where those balloons originally came from or why they’re there, but it’s still a fun photo to look at. If only you and your date could have both managed to look at the camera…

11. The one where your parents went ALL extra.

dollupbree/Instagram

Thanks, mami and papi, for this wonderful car that I can ride around in… But, um, just a bit much? Of course, with a ride this sweet, who even needs a date?!

12. The one where you can’t help but dress up in gold queenly robes.

howrichisyourmelanin/Instagram

You are a REINA and you know it. Maybe you won’t make it to Prom Queen this year, but you can certainly go dressed up as the princess-to-be from the magical land of Zamunda, can’t you?

13. The one where your prom date looks like he was in a boy band.

nrdnick/Instagram

We all have memories of this from the 90s, so don’t be surprised if all of our prom pictures feature this in one from or another. Frosted tips on the fellas? Okay, then.

14. The one where your mami made a badass backdrop.

tristantaormino/Instagram

I mean, if you’re GOING to take photos in front of a backdrop before prom, then it sure as heck better be something gorgeous and shimmering and oh-so-pretty. Thanks, y’all.

15. The one where you and your date match.

kyrieeleisoncouture/Instagram

Sometimes, you just have to match with your date. Wearing black-on-black can be a pretty awesome look for both you and your date. And they’re looking hot, no?

16. The one where your guy friends just… Well, here you go.

lwimaging/Instagram

The fellas gotta show off somehow, and here they are in the classic “prom pose”… All 10 of them! This is so many extra points that I’m not even sure what to do with myself.

17. The one where your squad all needs to pose.

starrdeyes/Instagram

Maybe not everyone is feeling this photo, but the squad goes nowhere on their own. Can we raise a hand for all of the fabulous single ladies featured in this photo?

Also shout out to the Charlie Angels pose we thought was so clever.

18. The one where your date is putting on your corsage… Because, of course.

jengusey/Instagram

These silly kids and their corsages! You can’t go to prom without one of these, now and forever. You simply must take one of these photos, even if you’re not quite such a big fan of them.

19. The one where you look so fly that you spend more time hyping yourself than your date.

blackgirlslayprom/Instagram

If you’re looking OH SO GOOD, then you have to take photos. But sometimes you might get caught up in taking photos and photos and more photos, until your date just looks plain old bored in the background.

20. The one where you’re just happy you made it this far, tbh.

magnetic.nikki/Instagram

Hooray, you made it to prom! Maybe you didn’t think you would get this far in your high school career, but now it’s here and almost over. Perhaps there’s even a tear to be shed on the horizon?


Recommend this story by clicking the share button below! 

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com