Every week we will be sharing an inspirational figure from Latin America, someone who we think you deserve to know about. Our aim is to spread the creativity and passion for their subject and hopefully inspire you as well! This week we chose the Brazilian documentary photographer Ana Carolina Fernandes.
Ana Carolina Fernandes is an acclaimed Brazilian documentary photographer from Rio de Janeiro who covers social and humanitarian issues. These photographs are from her personal project ‘Mem de Sá, 100’ which depicts a transvestite community in Lapa. The project began when Ana met Luana, a well-known transvestite (‘The Queen of Lapa’) who has now passed away. Ana has always felt a huge warmth towards transvestites; the fascination of the ambiguity of two bodies, the masculine and the feminine in one. Ana herself has always felt like an outsider, therefore rather than being intimidated by marginalised communities, she has felt a distinct attraction towards them. The women grew to become very close and through this friendship Luana allowed Ana into her casarão (large house) which she rented to 25 transvestites who worked there as prostitutes. Ana had free rein to go whenever she pleased as long as she didn’t photograph anyone without their permission. It was a special, unique experience to be able to shed light on a community which has consistently been cast in the shadows and misunderstood for centuries.
Ana simply aims to show the beauty of their bodies in everyday life. Through visiting the casarão a couple of times every week for years she formed an intimate connection with many of the residents there. She recounts that her friendship with Luana was essential for her growth as a human being; it was the most enriching experience she has ever had. The death of Luana has left a huge void in her life.
“Much more than giving a voice to a marginalised group of society, I wanted to give a body, to raise awareness, to open up the minds of those who are accustomed to thinking of the world and sexuality in paradigms of predetermined judgement.”
(Ana Carolina Fernandes)
To see more of Ana’s work, visit her instagram.