LoQ Self Portrait Series: April Valencia
1. How has quarantine + social distance impacted your practice of photography?
Quarantine has and is impacting my practice as a photographer and artist by continuously shifting and challenging my priorities. More than ever art has taken on a form of healing for me. During this transformational time, I am actively examining my role as an artist and woman.
My sister is 17 years younger than me, an aspiring photographer and a beautiful artist. I want to lead by example, I want to make her proud. I am learning and exploring in which ways my photography, actions and words can be offerings.
My thought process right now...how do my life and art contribute to the unfolding of our history for: children held in confinement at borders, Indigenous, Black and Brown communities, for the earth and the oceans? I am inspired by several platforms, photojournalists and photographers amplifying the voices of those who are silenced. Among many, @seeinblackproject and @borderkindness are doing incredible work.
2. Is self-portraiture a form you generally gravitate towards? If so, why – or why not?
Within the last few years, it has become a form I gravitate towards. For me, self portraits are similar to words in a journal, both being intimate practices. This documentation is important for me as a way to explore many interpretations of myself. It is a way of remembering, I suppose. Self portraiture creates a space for me to observe my surroundings in new ways, as I photograph them.
3. What have you spent time with lately?
I am reading a lot of poetry. I keep coming back to Joy Harjo’s poems and words. She is America’s first Native American Poet Laureate, recently appointed for a second term. I love her poems and her message. There is gentleness, strength and extraordinary conviction in her work.
Excerpts from Joy Harjo’s poem Remember:
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth, we are earth...remember you are all people and all people
4. Describe a photo that is important to you in words.
In my bedroom: I have a photo of my mom in motion, when she was seventeen, in a white linen dress. I can’t fully see her face, but the photo captures her spirit and essence so truthfully.
A photograph of my favorite island in Italy, hangs over my bed, a postcard I’ve had for years. It takes me back to feelings of sea breeze and slower days. I’ve always been drawn to photos with a message, whether hidden or visible. I want an image to share a story with me.
A few photographs I’m revisiting: Marie Orensanz - Limitada (Limited), Alex Webb - Bridgetown, Barbados, Imogen Cunnhingham - Triangles, Graciela Iturbide - Magnolia.
See April's photos @april_valencia.