(1/1 Photo Print on Acrylic) Frederic Cisneros
In my upbringing, I struggled with a distorted sense of self. Unbeknownst to me, I became adept at concealing my true identity, conforming to others' expectations without disrupting the status quo. However, as I grew older, I began to realize that I was merely mimicking behaviors and adopting a persona that I believed would please those around me. I constantly questioned how I should sound, perceive, dress, behave, and think to fit in.
In September 2020, my husband and I embarked on a journey to Oaxaca, where we joined his family in a profound religious ceremony. This experience had a profound impact on me, as it allowed me to witness the beauty of my culture in a way I had never fully appreciated before. It wasn't just about the customs; it was about the remarkable individuals who embodied that culture—people of extraordinary beauty.
As a commercial photographer, I often find myself being directed on what and who to photograph. For the longest time, the standard of beauty seemed to revolve around light eyes and fair skin. The media we consume, be it television, movies, or social platforms, exerts a powerful influence, especially during our formative years. Seeing oneself, witnessing representation that mirrors our own existence, holds immense significance. It imbues us with a sense of importance and belonging. It reinforces the notion that "I" matter because I can see myself, and others can see me too. When I'm already included in a space, I don't have to fight for my presence.
Through this series, I aim to engage viewers by inviting them to behold the beauty of Oaxaca through a sensory experience. I celebrate the vividness of color, the richness of texture, the allure of flavor, and the resonance of sound. This series proudly showcases the essence of Oaxaca—it is undeniably Mexican. Our model, Sandra, hails from Oaxaca and is one of the first indigenous models to be represented by a modeling agency in Mexico. The makeup artist, Israel Quiroz, hails from Mexico City. As for myself, I am the photographer, born in Tlaxcala, Mexico.
By capturing and sharing these images, I strive to broaden perspectives and challenge conventional beauty standards. I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation for diverse cultures and promote inclusivity.