Johana Guerrero Serrano
Location: Bello, Antioquia, Colombia
Request: Nikkon d3100 (kit with 18-55mm lens)
Grant Status: $400 of $400 (100%); Johana will be contributing $110 to the purchase
Johana Guerrero Serrano, born in Medellín, Colombia now lives in the neighboring municipality of Bello with her family; she is the third of four sisters. Last year she took a photography course with me at the Fundación Universitaria Bellas Artes where she is in her ninth semester of Visual Design studies (the program is longer than typical programs in the US and elsewhere). In addition to a passion for design and photography, she also plays the violin.
During the semester she produced a portfolio of work that documents a community that shares her strong Christian beliefs. In ways, her project functions as autobiography as much as document. This portfolio was created with a borrowed, point-and-shoot camera - you can see the strength of vision, but you can also see the need for a higher quality camera that does justice to that vision.
She writes that she has been captured by the illusionary magic of the camera: "Photography is a tool for stopping time, emotions, states of being, people; making them last for almost eternity." She also writes that photography "is the reality that every mind wants to see, and speaks of truths that every photographer wants to say...it allows me to explore the sleeping gifts that exist in my surroundings, and I am thankful for this because it is the recognition of this ability that has awoken in me the hunger to freeze the image with my lens."
My photography project started with the premise of portraying people in a position of worship of the supreme God who sees everything, who gives a sense of life to people who believe in him and his trinity. It comes out of something personal, something that is consistent and strong in my life, my passion and love for the heavenly.
With this project I seek to portray people in the earthly world connected with the spiritual world, showing different emotions, sensations, pleasures, passion, and even confusion in their faces. The photographs seek to find the crack between public and private, freezing the moment in which each person adapts public space into a private one in order to carry themselves to a personal place where they enter into intimate, diverse relationships with their creator, to address their needs, not caring about the noise, the other people present, and not even my lens. At the same time, they show a connection as a group, as they all walk together with the understanding of a similar idea, and they all adopt similar movements and gestures that become signifiers for this moment of worshiping the same God, the One GOD, together.
The photographs were made in places where people gather en masse to worship, which is usually dark, lit with color to - perhaps - enliven the connection to the celestial, or perhaps simply for decoration. Because of this I used a high ISO with a stop of overexposure and tried to find direct light sources to help me to stop motion because usually people in adoration stay in constant motion.