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Invisible Matriarchs: Cinthya Santos Briones’ “Abuelas” Series

Posted by on July 7, 2016 | Student Photography

The International Center of Photography in New York City recently held their annual Career Day for students, and PDNedu and PDN editors attended to review portfolios. I’ll be sharing some work here that we reviewed.

Cinthya Santos Briones is a documentary photographer who splits her time between New York City and Mexico, and whose work tells the stories of migrant communities, particularly those of women and girls. In her projects, she explores both cultural identity and gender issues with equal passion: young girls celebrating their quinceañeras, indigenous migrant women working in New York City, and undocumented immigrant grandmothers, originally from Mexico, who have put down roots in America for their families.

It’s the latter, “Abuelas: Portraits of the Invisible Grandmothers,” shown below, for which she has been awarded a Magnum Foundation Fellowship. Briones photographs each woman in her home, with myriad possessions surrounding her, which she calls “a symbolic recreation of culture, memory and ownership of a place that moves beyond any border.” I especially liked this project because of the strong presence of each matriarch, and how they present themselves to the viewer. As undocumented immigrants, they are “invisible” to many, as Briones’ title implies, but in this series, they are at the forefront.

All photos © Cinthya Santos Briones

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