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Photography - ISSUE #10

Agua

Words and photographs by Denisse Ariana Pérez

I keep coming back to water scenes. I keep coming back to lakes, rivers and oceans. I like to explore the interaction of people with water. Water can disarm even the most armed of facades. Becoming one with water is not about rushing but rather about flowing. And flowing is the closest thing to being.

I was born on an island. However, I never really had a profound relationship with water until I was an adult. In my childhood, water was there, it existed, it surrounded me, it poured on me softly and fiercely, but it didn’t mean more than just that, another element I learned about in biology class. As I grew older and moved around the world, water began to speak to me in an almost spiritual way. Water allowed me to connect to the deepest parts of myself and deeper matters beyond the limits of my physical body.

This ongoing body of work began in 2019 as I traveled through different corners of Africa. Due to the pandemic, I was forced to continue this photo series in Denmark, where I was residing until recently. This compulsory “stagnation” ended up being a blessing in disguise as it forced me to look around and be inspired by the landscapes and characters around me. This took my aquatic pilgrimage from south to north, from tropical pink waters to colder currents. However, this change in environment or pandemic-imposed limitations did not really change the ethos of my project, if anything it reinforced it. In these versatile waters, I captured men, siblings, people living with albinism, and non-binary beings. Disarming and dismantling traditional notions of masculinity, facades of masculinity, especially of brown and black men, is something I am devoted to. Through my images, I aim to showcase people through a more sensible and sensitive lens, one that shows nuance, vulnerability, and movement.

This series is the foundation of my recently published book, Agua.

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