I LOVE L.A.: Amanda Lopez: Guadalupe
One of the best parts about Los Angeles is that it’s a city rich with cultural diversity. In fact, Hispanic and Latino residents make up almost half of the city’s population. Growing up on the East side of Los Angeles, I fell in love with the Mexican influences–the iconography, the colors, the music, the food, and most importantly, the people. I am on the Advisory Board of Las Photos Projects, an organization that elevates the voices of teenage girls and gender-expansive youth from communities of color through photography and mentoring, and I have been keeping my eyes on the growing community of talented Latina photographers who beautifully chronicle the Mexican American culture in Los Angeles.
One of my favorite photographers is Amanda Lopez. Her work is well celebrated –her photographs have been shown at the MoMA and collected by the Smithsonian and recently released as NFT’s with Quantum. I am drawn to the humor and pathos of her work, her colors, and her nod to cultural signifiers. With the series featured today, Guadalupe, she modernizes religious icons and expressions in order to “honor the divine feminine energy, sacredness, and healing.”
Guadalupe celebrates Mexico’s beloved patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, while exploring the ways she has impacted my life. These images are a reinterpretation of Guadalupe’s symbolism which, for me, transcends their religious origin. Instead, this series is intended to honor the divine feminine energy, sacredness, and healing that Guadalupe’s imagery can encapsulate for people of all genders and backgrounds.These photos explore topics such as womanhood, masculinity, and piety and ask, what does it mean to be divine? The project includes portraits of family and friends who share my affinity with Guadalupe, as well as images of apparitions found in various public places. I also created images that reimagine Guadalupe in a contemporary context. Each is distinct but serves one purpose – to connect people.
Amanda Lopez is a Mexican-American portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles. Her father lent her his camera at the age of 17 and photography soon became her passion. Whether she’s on assignment or photographing members of her family and friends, Lopez’s camera eye looks for a balance of strength, vulnerability, and tenacity.
Lopez has won several awards for her work, including Critical Mass Top 50, PDN Faces, American Photography, Latin American Fotografia, and was chosen to be a part of the Save Arts Space Initiative in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been shown at the MoMA and collected by The Smithsonian and The Raw Dao. Lopez is a member of Diversify Photo, Women Photograph, and The Luupe.
Tell us about your growing up and what brought you to photography. Are you a native Angeleno?
I grew up in Sacramento, CA, and discovered photography in high school. I was instantly hooked. I fell in love with photography and found joy and solace in the process of developing my own film and prints. Once I learned that photography could be a career, I knew that I wanted to pursue it. I moved to L.A. about 9 years ago to do just that. That move was pivotal as it launched my freelance career
How does being a Mexican American photographer inform the work you make?< My artwork is informed by my Mexican-American identity. You see it in the colors and themes I chose to explore, as well as in the talent I work with, even in the music I play on set. I am proud to be Mexican-American and I believe you can see that in my work.
What do you love about Los Angeles?
My favorite thing about L.A. is how creative the city is. There is always something beautiful happening here. Whether it be a gallery opening or book launch, a film screening, or a music event – this city is full of creatives making their dreams come true. It’s inspiring. Plus you can’t beat the weather.
Have you thought about continuing this project in a significant way?< I would say my Guadalupe series is 99% done. There is one more image I’d like to make, then it will be officially complete.
Finally, describe your perfect LA Day.
My perfect day in L.A. would be spending a relaxing day with friends. Maybe grab some coffee at Menotti’s on the west side, followed by a long leisurely brunch. A visit to a bookstore with a great photo and magazine section or stopping by a venue for some live music and a margarita would be a nice way to end the day.
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