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LUZ Photographs and captions by Aimee Guymon


San Francisco-based photographer Aimee Guymon never guessed that a barrier in language would one day become her greatest strength in bonding with a subject. When Guymon first began spending time with Maria de la Luz, a university educated immigrant woman from Mexico, the lack of a com- munal language was an obvious issue. “Maria speaks Spanish and I only speak English, so one might think that it would have made things harder, but actually it made it easier,” says Guymon. “We couldn’t use words to communicate with each other so instead we had to connect on a deeper level faster then usual. By the end it felt as if I had grown to know and understand her in way I hadn’t with anyone before.” This deeper bond was extremely important for Guymon because it allowed her to realistically portray the story of Maria’s struggle with depression and the loneliness of immigration. “I think many people don’t want to see immigrants as human beings, people that have a need for a better life to support their families, things that all of us want and strive for. My goal was to show the human side of immigrants through the concept that emotions are universal and depression is some- thing that almost everyone can relate to by either having felt it themselves or seeing a loved one cope with it.” Maria’s overwhelming love for her family is the strength that pulls the viewer through these images, and is evident in Guymon’s photography. “You can see the pain in her eyes, the smile she forces her mouth to make,” Guymon says of a portrait of Maria and her son. “However the light shines on her son as she holds his face there and he smiles his child like grin. She had just made him laugh. She was always trying to make him laugh. She told me she didn’t want him to be like her, always sad.”


- Robin Lam


Snapixel Magazine I The New Documentar ian I 45


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