’A Woman’s Story’ is an ongoing photography project by London-based multidisciplinary visual artist Daria Lazo. Her practice focuses on body politics and social issues, particularly those affecting women.
This collaborative project documents a part of women’s story that they want to share. In this specific series, Laura Magro is one of the participants, who wanted to recreate her quinceañera.
Celebrating Los Quince (15th Birthday) is a popular tradition in most parts of Latin America. It is celebrated with a lavish ritual that is supposed to mark the transition into a woman. This tradition came from the Spanish colonial times, when bourgeoisie who were settling down in the continent needed an event to present the female members of the family into society. Thus, the flamboyant dresses and tiaras. But nowadays, it has become a core ritual for most Latin American female identifying individuals, no matter the social background. Some families even open savings accounts for their daughters’ Quinces. That being said, it is still a controversial ritual that arises debates on gender politics and colonial history.
I remember my Quinces as a strange time in my life. On the one hand, I was excited because I had been dreaming about this moment since I could remember. I wanted to feel closer to my Cuban heritage, and thought partaking in this tradition could certainly help me recover a certain sense of belonging. However, another side of me was ashamed. I was raised in Spain and this kinds of rituals are often deemed as extravagant and outdated.
We tried to capture the essence of the old photographs as well as Laura’s actual quinceañera photos. We experimented with different props, backdrops, and lighting to help us recreate the photos in the dream-like aesthetic. The poses are so out of place and unnatural that they border on comical. Laura was dressed in her original gown for the shoot, and it was interesting to capture her reaction to the absurdity of this tradition. This quinceañera, on the other hand, takes place in a London setting and is completely displaced in time and space.