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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

20.05.2022

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Images that nourish the soul like a ritual fire: Yael Martínez Velázquez's Family Portraits series produced this evocative portrait of his daughter.

“The wood was warm, as though it retained within it the warmth that had been felt here for a long time, in this space where the family had spent their days, in this kitchen.
This is a special day for many Mexicans, the day of Guadalupe-Tonantzin; but these visits always fill me with nostalgia. We hadn't been here for a long time, since before the arrival of the pandemic, before Grandpa Digno lost his leg, and Aunt Aurora's family moved here to take care of them. Our energy, the passing days, our roots, our essence are in these spaces.

We ate, and afterwards, as part of the ritual, we visited my brother-in-law Beto in the cemetery. The girls played in the river and at the end of the day, before heading back home, we returned to the grandparents' house, to this kitchen that is now empty but that burns within us like a fire. I asked Itzel my daughter to pose for a portrait. She lay her head on the trunk. I asked her to close her eyes and think of some memory. Because in the end we always look for the kind of images that endure, like a ritual fire inside us."

Image and text: © Yael Martínez
Equipment: Leica Q, Summilux 28 f/1.7 ASPH.


Find out more about the photography of Yael Martínez in LFI Magazine 4/2022.
© Itzel Martínez Granda

Yael Martínez Velázquez

...was born in the Mexican state of Guerrero in 1984. His work addresses fractured communities in his native homeland. He often works symbolically to evoke the sense of emptiness, absence, and pain suffered by those affected by organized crime in the region. He is a nominee of the Magnum Photos Agency, and a member of The National System of Creators in Art Mexico. He is the recipient of the 2019 Eugene Smith Award, and a fellow of the Photography and Social Justice Program of The Magnum Foundation. In 2019, he received 2nd Prize in the World Press Photo competition, in the category of long-term projects. His pictures have been featured in solo and group shows in America, Europe, Africa and Asia. His work has been published by National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Vogue Italy, and Aperture, among others.

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