By Julie Aguirre, age 16
My name is Julianna Aguirre, I’m16 years old, and I currently attend Benjamin Franklin High School. Last Saturday February 25th, I has the honor of moderating and hosting the Las Photos Project panel “(Re)present: Black Women In Front and Behind the Camera.” The panel featured the four amazing photographers Kayla Reefer, Dana Washington, Oriana Koren, and Sophia Nahli Allison who’s work ranges in the topics including representations of people and communities of color, urban aesthetics, gender, sexuality, Afrofuturism, food, travel, music, and entertainment. In hosting the panel, I had the opportunity to talk to the panelist about their experience as photographers and how their identities have impacted their art. Throughout the panel portion I was extremely overwhelmed with excitement and overall confidence.
These amazing women taught me that regardless of if I’m a women, specifically a women of color, that doesn’t portray a smaller image or representation of myself. Contrary, it shows how strong and independent a women can be when all odds seem to be against her, and how women still manage to outperform the task that they have set their mind to.
Before the panel I was nervous, but then I was able to see that our panelists were nervous as well, which helped me a lot because what I realized is that regardless on how successful you are, you will always be nervous before any event. By the end of the event I felt empowered. Not only did the experience make me feel proud to be a young women who has also stepped out of her comfort zone but the panelists inspired me to continue to advocate for changes I want to see for my people and community. This experience has helped change my view not only as a student leader, but as a photographer by expanding my vision and not just “going with the flow,” but taking a step beyond and creating my own art as a representation of who I am rather than trying to interpret someone’s else vision.