San Diego and Tijuana Photographers Take Storytelling Into Their Own Hands
- Emerging photographic artists amplify underrepresented stories
- Local photographers helped bridge gap between their communities and the museum
Four local artists showed the Museum of Photographic Arts how they use the lens to tell stories important to them and the San Diego and Tijuana region.
In the run of Instagram takeovers, the Museum featured artists Rachel Taylor, Delana Delgado, Eduardo Heredia Cabuto, and Joey Guzzino, who touched on topics such as LGBTQ+ representation, feminism, environmental change and immigration.
Emerging photographic artists amplify underrepresented stories
Image courtesy of Delana Delgado
Local artist Delana Delgado brought an honest perspective on her journey growing up in southeast San Diego as a Boricua woman and artist. Through her intimate depictions of her community, she showed strong women and femmes at the center of her work. She highlighted power and beauty.
“I want to see types of people being celebrated even though it might not fit into a certain art scene of a gallery or museum yet,” Delgado said.
“I definitely think that these are inspiring individuals in our community that are taking photos of their life, and I think it’s beautiful. These stories should be seen and shared.”
Image courtesy of Joey Guzzino and Juniper
Guzzino and Juniper’s photo series “TRANS DIVINITY” aims to illuminate an experience many are not exposed to.
“The trans identity is incredibly underrepresented in the art world … The complexity of transitioning is something I did not grow up seeing or see [photo] projects about even today,” Juniper said.
Image courtesy of Joey Guzzino and Nathan Muñoz
In his series “Africa,” Guzinno and Muñoz challenge the perception of beauty.
“It gets very old when you see someone that’s conventionally very attractive dancing with their shirt off on TikTok and they have hundreds of thousands of likes rather than seeing someone who is Black or Brown who has made something beautiful and is showcasing their culture in a really beautiful way and it doesn’t have many likes,” Muñoz said.
“It’s very important to make photo projects [like] Africa because it shows beauty in different types of ways, not just in a physical or lustful way. It shows beauty more so in a cultural sense. It shows beauty in the origin of where someone comes from.”
Communities see themselves in the work of local artists
Image courtesy of Eduardo Heredia Cabuto
Tijuana portrait and social documentary photographer Eduardo Heredia Cabuto is known to his community as The Mexican Ambassador.
“It’s important to socially document Tijuana because it is a melting pot in Latin America, ” Cabuto Heredia says. “People all over Latin America, Mexico, the United States or Europe come down to Tijuana to experience what the city is like and many will stay here. I think each culture brings some of its own to make Tijuana a great city.”
As a true ambassador, his love for Tijuana shines in his shots of busy throughways, light-filled alleyways, and delicate portraits of a hustling community.
As images of the Monumental Arch and a nearby OXXO started taking space on MOPA’s feed, the voices of the community represented in them followed.
“I grew up in Tijuana and I can relate to the story! ????” said user @csalazar70.
Image courtesy of Delana Delgado
“Raw. Wholesome. Undeniably LEGENDARY!” commented @mkeebey.
“Wow, this is incredible! I absolutely love @strawb.unny creative vision!” followed mirand4v.
With striking exposures of her rich culture and candid images of community life, Delgado wants viewers to feel the raw truth and loyalty of her people.
Beauty shop runs and trips to strip malls become opulent backdrops to femme empowerment.
With each collaborator bringing stoicism and palpable confidence, Delgado’s refined eye cuts through the mundane.
“The zine is an homage to the style, the identity, and the culture from femmes and women from Southbay and Daygo who have a certain demeanor that I feel can’t be matched if you’re not from this area,” Delgado said.
“For me it was about finding my tribe of women who march to the beat of their own drum.”
When communities see themselves represented, others like them gain the confidence to share their stories too.
Written by Janan Salaam, MOPA digital marketing apprentice
Lead image courtesy of Eduardo Heredia Cabuto