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Why Photographer Annielly Camargo is Absorbed with Vulnerable Bodies in Challenging Spaces

Why Photographer Annielly Camargo is Absorbed with Vulnerable Bodies in Challenging Spaces

Annielly Camargo (They/Them, She/Her) is a queer photographer and mixed-media artist working with video, photography, and installation. After using a digital camera, they transitioned to shooting with Polaroid and medium-format film. A recent series of environmental portraits, titled Home; Garden and Grave, centers on vulnerable bodies in challenging spaces. Camargo describes the work as a ‘a love letter to abandonment, the lack of a stationary place to call home, and the aftermath of confronting your body in solitude.’

Not Real Art Artist Of The Day Series

Camargo earned a Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College and currently resides in Boston. By conducting interviews with subjects and encouraging them to discuss their ‘demons’ in emotionally provocative locales, they hope to facilitate personal healing. Through images and text, the series aims to uncover the person beneath the surface. A photograph of a nude young woman draped with a sheet on a heap of discarded mattresses has a haunting resonance that evokes feelings of detachment, disorientation, and isolation.

My work ‘Home; Garden and Grave’ has the ability to collaborate with people from all walks of life in order to get their story and identity across. This is for anyone who has been ridiculed for just being themself, even if it may be the purest and most genuine version. I enjoy seeing the most human form of people for a few hours before capturing an image of the person they claim to be. My work seeks to diversify the image of common anxieties, ones that are often hidden from the public eye. It is a visual display of one’s search for power and acceptance regardless of their current state and vulnerability.

Camargo alternates between fine art and documentary photography, traversing the boundaries between the fictional and the real. In addition to covering racial-equality protests in the U.S. they are expanding on a project in Cuba. As Camargo delves into the human psyche through revealing conceptual portraits, and covers socio-political events, their dual approach encourages viewers to acknowledge their own vulnerabilities and consider their place in an uncertain world.

Table of Contents

Annielly Camargo — Artist Statement

Annielly Camargo. Headshot
Annielly Camargo

In the series ‘Home; Garden and Grave’, Annielly Camargo interviews several people from different backgrounds regarding interpersonal demons they identify with. Through responses, fantasy like visuals are created in order to convey these stories. Some aspects of life which can be described as one’s “demons” are translated as phobias, solitude, sexuality and culture in the interviews. Some of the questions explored are: Who are you when you are alone?

What are the different masks you put on? Where is home for you? ‘Home; Garden and Grave’ speaks to the suffocation and rejection of culture and the desire for another identity. Camargo’s work touches upon the attempt to fix forms of ourselves that might not be ideal to familial or societal standards and the mold that one must fit to meet that image. This work is a love letter to abandonment, the lack of a stationary place to call home and the aftermath of confronting your body in solitude.

Annielly Camargo – Grant Submission Work

Annielly Camargo.  Homeful - Yani Perez
Homeful – Yani Perez

Excerpt from interview with Yani Perez: "There was a point growing up where I would wake up every morning crying hysterically wishing that I hadn't opened my eyes, and pray every night for it all to end. I found a drum in a tree when I was twelve with my friend. We both had similar home environments and when things got hard and we wanted relief, we would play it. We would roam around singing and banging away at our little drum. The echo and vibration was our physical reminder of that we could feel something else. A little beacon of hope for a different tomorrow.

A few years ago I was homeless for 9 months. Over time I eventually lost all my belongings, all my memories accumulated over the years. Everything I could attach any bit of love towards was no longer tangible with nothing to call my own, but I still had my little drum. That's my ride or die. I’ve been allowing myself to truly feel now. To take my time with my breath and hone in on the gravity that's pushing me down on this sphere. What I know is that I have a chance for change, I'm alive. And this is just the shell I reside in. "

Annielly Camargo. Dirty Laundry - Sophie Frank
Dirty Laundry – Sophie Frank

Photos with Sophie Frank inspired by few lines of a poem she wrote after our interview titled "I Lived Alone in a Basement" "I want to pull my sheets Out to the middle of a field where Nothing can touch me"

Annielly Camargo. On the Fence - Irving Mercado
On the Fence – Irving Mercado

Excerpt from interview with Irving Mercado: "Its true how people say everything you do reflects who you are as a contributor to society. We must behave to please. We are puppets on some string pulling us away from our pure self and the image we must obtain in order for acceptance to occur. Suppressing what makes us happy because we know it wont get us love. Played with until we are forgotten and picked up for the next person to use. This only results in hindering from mold of who I’ve always been, feared but loved.

In a sense, you are not your real self. In a sense I am not my real self, either. It took so long to feel like I’ve met him, even slightly. Theres an internal battle I face daily to please a world due to fear of judgement. So we allow the tug, we allow the strings and we allow the manipulation. When is it enough? To the point of unbearable exhaustion and realize we can and should flourish on our own? My biggest fear is to loose myself in others and never being able to fully come back from that. Although I know everyone I cross will rob a bit of me as I will of them. We play and hold many characters and many people, so no. You can never contain me anymore." (Irving Mercado shot through a prism)

Annielly Camargo. APHONIC SEQUINS
APHONIC SEQUINS – Ishrat Noor Qureshi

Excerpt from interview with Ishrat Noor Qureshi: "My dreams are usually vivid and most of them have to do with feeling out of breath, the best ones are the worst ones, like dreams of being back with my ex and everything is perfect and being able to feel every part of it and waking up still with the warmth but emptier. Nightmares about being lost in someplace, being always cold and wet and never being able to feel the sun, something I desire so close to my reach but never being able to obtain it. My mother taught me what fear meant. Fear is the devil and hell, and fear is also Allah (later i found out that wasn’t true) fear is feeling unwanted. I want to scream forever until I lose my voice, I really wish I was born mute sometimes. My reflection is as bad as I am. There is no escaping me. I would normally have said home is with myself, but I don’t know anymore. These are the masks I put on to fool myself."

Annielly Camargo – Artist Bio

Annielly Camargo (They/Them, She/Her) is a queer photographer and mixed media artist. Their creations live through a variety of mediums ranging from video, installation, or alternative photographic processes. They have been shooting digitally for the past nine years and more recently started shooting on Polaroid and medium format film cameras. As a visual artist and art activist, they hope to use their creative eye and methods of expression to address important matters. Allowing the viewer to address certain topics in the work; both the viewer and the creator become mutually educated in their own selves and the world around them. Camargo’s art photography focuses on vulnerable bodies navigating in challenging spaces. These environments test limits and question realities regardless of the human state allowing a deeper look into self and societal healing. Annielly Camargo currently resides in Boston, MA and has a BA from Hampshire College. They are currently documenting the ongoing racial equality movements that are happening locally and nationwide. Aside from their journalism work, they are continuously expanding on their college thesis work ‘Transportando al Futuro’ based in Havana, Cuba.

Annielly on the Web And Social Media

Here is where to find out more about Annielly Camargo on the web and social media:

About the Artist of the Day Series

All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis is a writer, photographer, and former New York gallerist based in Richmond, Virginia. She has a masters in fine art, a BA in Russian literature, and is earning a masters in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University, AAP.

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