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Mi Tía Lupe spread her hands and smoothed her bed, which is decorated with her namesake, La Virgen, our lady of Guadalupe. I had witnessed this scene all my life. As the youngest in a family of five children, I got special attention from my Tía. I could do no wrong in her eyes.

This photo is significant for me because it documents my Tia whom I was very close to, and was a second mother to me. She lived across the street from us, and whenever I was in trouble at home I would run to her house for refuge.

This is also the first photograph I made as an art piece, and it taught me the power of photography to stir emotion. My career as a commercial photographer was already established. I started looking at a lot of great photographers, especially Henri Cartier-Bresson and Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

In 1986 I was honored by an invitation from Kathy Vargas curator of visual arts at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center to participate in a group show of images depicting La Virgen. 

I immediately thought of Tía Lupe’s bedspread and I realized that for the first time, my purpose was not defined by a commercial assignment. I was going to contribute to an exhibition of my people’s religious traditions. It was then that I started creating photographs with an artistic intention, capturing images of Mi Cultura.

Tia Lupe

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