Latino Studies Photography
by
Colin Gunckel
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 March 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0142

Introduction

This bibliography reflects the multifaceted relationship between Latina/os and various photographic traditions. As individuals and groups placed in front of the camera lens, Latino/as have often found themselves stigmatized, marginalized, or criminalized. Photographs taken by reformers, the police, and documentarians since the late 19th century, for instance, have often generated harmful or homogenizing visions of the US Latina/o population that frame them as racially different or otherwise problematic. Since the early decades of the 20th century, however, Latino/a photographers have produced bodies of work that challenge these limited visions to craft new images of identity, community, and history. Some of these individuals have harnessed the capacity of photography to fulfill an evidentiary or realist function as either social documentation, a political organizing tool, or a challenge to exclusionary mainstream media coverage. Others have explored the aesthetic and formal potential of photography by engaging in conceptual art practices, crafting speculative reimaginings of history, using it as an extension of performance, integrating it into other media, or mobilizing it as a complex mechanism of community- or self-representation. This bibliography covers the major works of scholarship that have attended to these key photographic tendencies and the places where they overlap, considering works that discuss Latina/os both in front of and behind the lens. Also included here are key exhibition catalogues and photographic essays that provide a representative sampling of visual tendencies or traditions mobilized by practicing Latina/o photographers, with particular attention to regional and ethnic diversity.

Essays and Book Chapters

These foundational essays and chapters largely chronicle the ways that Latina/os have used photography as a means of contemplating and complicating conceptions of identity, history, and community. Chavoya 2003, Gunckel 2016, Lewthwaite 2016, and Kuusinen 2008 examine how individuals, artists, or groups have used photography on these terms, while Lewthwaite 2012 discusses how John S. Candelario used photography to intervene in exclusionary conceptions of art and modernity. Garza 2003 and Sollner 2011 both consider how specific photographic practices have been inextricably tied to cultural and family memory. Generally speaking, scholars frame the efforts of Latina/o photographers as critical departures from conventions of visual representation that have historically stigmatized or marginalized these populations, as exemplified both by the gang photography analyzed by Rodríguez 2000 and by photography associated with colonial expansion, as examined by Duany 2001. In addition, essays by Gonzalez 2008, Gunckel 2015, Sollner 2011, and Sorrell 1984 examine how photography has been variously incorporated into or made inextricable from other media and cultural production like the social movement press, autobiography, muralism, and filmmaking. Taken together, these essays argue for the transformative and political role of photography, the ways Latina/os have been envisioned by others and themselves, and the diverse ways that photography has functioned as a documentary tool or conceptual resource for reframing identities.

  • Calvo, Luz. “Embodied at the Shrine of Cultural Disjuncture.” In Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representation. Edited by Angel Y. Davis and Nefertiti X. M. Tadiar, 207–218. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    A close textual analysis of photographer Laura Aguilar’s influential work Three Eagles Flying (1990).

  • Chavoya, C. Ondine. “No-Movies: The Art of False Documents.” In Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self. Edited by Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis, 199–203. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003.

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    An analysis of the performative photo projects produced by the Los Angeles-based conceptual art group Asco in the 1970s.

  • Duany, Jorge. “Portraying the Other: Puerto Rican Images in Two American Photographic Collections.” Discourse 23.1 (2001): 119–153.

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    In this essay, Duany analyzes two distinct photographic archives containing images of Puerto Rico during the US colonial expansionism at the turn of the 20th century, arguing that they provide important insight into how the United States represented and envisioned the island’s population as “others” that would benefit from US occupation.

  • Garza, Monica. “Secular Santos.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 28.1 (2003): 163–171.

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    A brief historical overview of fotoesculturas, a commercially available product popular with Mexican-Americans in the mid-20th century that combined wooden sculpture with photography to memorialize a deceased loved one or favorite celebrity.

  • Gonzalez, Rita. “Surplus Memories: From the Slide Show to the Digital Bulletin Board in Jim Mendiola’s Speeder Kills.” In Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography. Edited by Karen Beckman and Jean Ma, 158–171. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822391432-011E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of Jimmy Mendiola’s film Speeder Kills, exploring of the role of still photography in the work of Chicano filmmakers from the 1960s to the present.

  • Gunckel, Colin. “The Chicano/a Photographic: Art and Social Practice in the Chicano Movement.” American Quarterly 67.2 (2015): 377–412.

    DOI: 10.1353/aq.2015.0030E-mail Citation »

    Examines the multifaceted use of photography by artists and activists in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Gunckel, Colin. “Building a Movement and Constructing Community: Photography, the United Farm Workers and El Malcriado.” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order 42.3–4 (2016): 29–45.

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    An examination of the role of photography in the print culture associated with the United Farm Workers movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Lewthwaite, Stephanie. “Mediating Art Worlds: The Photography of John S. Candelario.” New Mexico Historical Review 87.1 (2012).

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    Study of New Mexico-based photographer whose practice in the 1930s and 1940s mediated between local artistic traditions and currents of modernism.

  • Kuusinen, Asta. “Ojo de la Diosa: Becoming Divine in Delilah Montoya’s Art Photography.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 33.1 (2008): 33–61.

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    An analysis of Montoya’s photography through the intertwined lenses of gender, theology, and vernacular aesthetics.

  • Lewthwaite, Stephanie. “Revising the Archive: Documentary Portraiture in the Photography of Delilah Montoya.” In The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, 226–236. New York: Routledge, 2016.

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    Analysis of the photographic work of the artist, with an emphasis on how her portraits of Latinas interrogate and rethink conceptions of gender.

  • Rodríguez, Richard T. “On the Subject of Gang Photography.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 25.1 (2000): 109–147.

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    An analysis of the photographic figure of the Latino gangster across the genres of documentary photography, police photography, and visual self-representations generated by gang members.

  • Sollner, Louisa. “Leaving Cuba: Photography, Trauma, and Displacement in Cuban-American Autobiographies.” In Frontiers and Cultures: Euro- and Pan-American Studies/Fronteras y culturas: Estudios Euro- y Panamericanos. Edited by Margherita Cannavacciuolo and Simone Francescato, 89–92. Venice, Italy: Studio LT2, 2011.

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    The author provides an analysis of the use of photography in several Cuban-American autobiographies and how it is tied to experiences of displacement and trauma.

  • Sorrell, Victor. “The Photograph as a Source for Visual Artists: Images from the Archivo Casasola in the Works of Mexican and Chicano Artists.” In The World of Agustín Victor Casasola, Mexico: 1900–1938. 16–27. Washington, DC: Fondo del Sol Visual Arts and Media Center, 1984.

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    This article examines how Chicano easel painters and muralists have drawn from the photography of the Mexican Revolution by the Casasola studio.

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