The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Agnes Lopez
During the pandemic downtime I started to review my body of photography work and had the realization that I did not have any Filipina-American women in my portfolio. While I am proud of the portfolio of the work, I have created over the past 18 years, photographing CEOs, professional athletes, chefs, community leaders, actors, and so much more, I decided that I needed to pursue a portrait project to highlight talented Filipina women in the Northeast Florida art community.
People are often surprised to find out that Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeastern US. While we’ve quietly gone about our business in the past, I want to let people know we are here and have been a part of the fabric of Jacksonville’s community for a long time.
My goal is to challenge stereotypes, let the world see that Filipinos aren’t just nurses and doctors and members of the military, but that many talented Filipina artists exist here right now. I want to encourage these artists to show who they are and share their talents. I wanted to showcase each individual’s unique beauty, strength and skin tone. That is why I felt it was important to photograph them in color as opposed to the black and white portrait style I had used for The Faces to Remember Project. (Learn more, www.thefacestoremember.com)
Being Filipino-American, I feel proud to be Filipino, but I think as an American I question am I Filipino enough. As an immigrant group that has been taught to assimilate and blend in, many of us do not know how to speak our language or cook our food. Important traditions are being lost.
One of the ladies I photographed for the project initially questioned if she should be included because she is only half-Filipino. In that moment I realized how important this project really was. Being Filipino is a part of us and we can not hide it. We come in all shapes, backgrounds, and skin tones.
Colorism is another huge issue in the Filipino community. As an American being tan is seen as something to aspire to but in the Filipino community being darker is not considered desirable. Growing up, I would hear comments of how dark I was and at the time I didn’t really think anything of it. As I got older, I realized it had affected me to where I wouldn’t go to the beach and would wear long sleeves outside, so I didn’t tan. Seeing people of color in the media really had a big impact on me and made me realize that dark is beautiful too.
As a photographer, I realized I could help others come to this realization through this project and my work moving forward.
To see more of this project, click here.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.