Thalía Gochez empowers her community with the bold style of her photographic portraits

“I’ve always been interested in combining a fashion-rich visual, while emphasizing history and identity,” says Thalía Gochez. Through her practice, she wants to create a safe place for black people and people of color to express themselves freely and feel beautiful. Getting his subjects to collaborate in the styling process is an important part of that. “I create for my community and if they feel seen and find refuge in my work, then I’ve done my job – I don’t need mainstream America’s approval to know that the people I capture and their stories are beautiful,” she said. .

Thalía first got into photography through a fashion styling class at her local community college. While working with a photographer on a project, she “immediately wanted to take his camera” and shoot the project herself. After that, she bought a camera for $1 at a local flea market and began documenting all the “beauty” she saw in her community. She finds inspiration everywhere, “whether it’s the way someone stands at a bus stop or the way a lady who works at the grocery store has her hair done.”

Thalía’s background in fashion has had a lasting impact on the way she shoots. The women in his images sport ribbon braids, rhinestone-encrusted eyebrows and striking makeup. Empowering her subjects through bold style, Thalía tells the stories of people in her community. “I usually photograph people in environments that reflect their identity, which tends to always be their home, their neighborhood, and just extremely personal and meaningful spaces for them,” she explains.

Michael E. Marquez