I photograph my subject in a naturalistic and aesthetic immediacy. I draw out the issues of identity within a bicultural people in society. With an interest in documentary style photography and a photojournalist’s mindset, I dive into my artwork with open eyes. I seek to find the beauty, truth and emotion behind the people I photograph. And I investigate my own identity in the process. When one culture physically joins with another there’s a lag in the integration of aesthetic, politics, folkways and more. Overtime it becomes difficult to distinguish the separation, this is when the two become one. This overall experience is embodied in my series: Mezcla.
Growing up I was never very aware of my surroundings and the interactions between people. Coming from parents who were born and raised in a different country made me experience and see the world in a different way. It never really occurred to me, having been raised in the States, that I was different. I spoke the language, ate the same foods, laughed, cried, and breathed the same as anyone else. Over time differences became apparent, causing the question “Who am I” to grow in intensity. Was I Mexican? American? Both? Neither? Creating Mezcla allows me to uncover the core of those questions and bring light to something bigger.
In order to express this experience, my use of lighting, choice of subject matter, positioning and depth of field are taken into consideration. In this body of work I employ digital color photography to tell a visual story. My hope is that viewers catch a glimpse and a strong impression of what the Chicano culture looks and feels like. In order to fully express the cultural blending, it was imperative to use ink jet color prints in order to fully display the vibrancy, familiarity, and warmth of both cultures. Organizing the photographic prints in white frames arranged in a window-like manner is essential in furthering the idea of introspection, a look into the lives of Chicanos.
I questioned many things in my life growing up, such as, why my parents never acted the same as others, why they required my help for “simple” things, why I wasn’t allowed to do things other kids did, and why did my family called me the “white girl”. Was I American, was I Mexican, where did I belong? Through creating this series, I explored a world that helped to answer these questions. It is world where both cultures exist together and where that mixture was beautiful. I am neither Mexican nor am I American. I have learned to love and embrace that fact. I am Chicana, and PROUD.
© 2019 Georgina Velazquez, All Rights Reserved
bicultural, mexican american, identity, documentary, mexican culture, american culture