The important thing in a photographer is his work, his sincerity, his ability to transcend the documentary to achieve human fulfillment ... Manuel Álvarez Bravo

 

I was born in puerto rico in 1971. i have studied  photojournalism at the international center of photography in nyc .

I have always been interested in old BW photographs. Especially the ones where we can see how people lived, loved and suffered in the past. I have been influenced by the artists of the movement called “The Mexican Renaissance”, where artists like Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston and Frida Kahlo were documenting their surroundings and finding art in their everyday life.

I took a break from my modeling career to live in Mexico in 1999, and with my first camera started to immerse myself in the Mexican culture. I traveled from the northern Mexican desert to the southern tropical jungle, making my home base in the Yucatan white beaches of Tulum. My dream was to become a National Geographic photographer and a portraitist for Vanity Fair, “to transcend the documentary to achieve human fulfillment” by capturing the wonderful characters of artists, actors, politicians and iconic figures of my generation.

When I returned to Paris, I found that I had to readjust my life and select new subjects to photograph after years of being surrounded by the unique nature and colorful characters of Mexico. One of the subjects that I chose was the Notre Dame of Paris, where I often went to seek refuge and peace. I photographed it in the evening, in the morning light, in the snow, in the rain, from the top of the gargoyles, to the foot of the cathedral and inside without flash...it was my best model.

The other model that I focused on was myself. I was going through a blue period as my marriage was dissolving and I felt that my body and spirit were going to waste. I started doing self-portraits to document this period which included nudes that depicted my body in those melancholy moments. I am a very private person, and felt that I could not speak to any of my friends or family about what was going on in my life at the time. The only way to express my feelings was through my self-portrait photography.

I feel that the fashion industry, perhaps because of the financial crisis, is changing and becoming more open to realism in its imagery and approach. They are finally noticing the value of nature; that women should not try to be eternally young and that we can find beauty in the simplicity of things in life.

Astrid