?UESTIONS: Denisse Ariana Pérez

Photographer, author and copywriter, Denisse Ariana Pérez. Caribbean-born, Copenhagen-based, Denisse has a special way with people, words and imagery. Her art redefines negative representations and puts a spotlight on the vulnerabilities and warmth of her subjects.

How has your own environment and background influenced the photos that you take? 

I grew up in a culture that did not celebrate blackness or queer culture at all. I constantly feel that my work is the byproduct of my inner child attempting to write love letters to all those things I wished I had seen being celebrated, that I saw as beautiful, like my father's dark skin and my brothers' vulnerability. 

Your photography tells a story -how do you make a connection with people?

I approach people as a person first, not as a photographer. My camera becomes secondary. Building a sense of trust is the most important element in the photographic process for me. I wouldn't be able to build a space of intimacy if I didn't build some trust with my subjects to begin with.

Trust goes beyond language, a lot of times I don't speak the same language as my subjects and in those cases I need to rely on either a local translator, my broken version of their language or plain body language. Trust for me is more of a sometimes silent, mutual agreement of recognition and empathy between the person in front of you and yourself. That is the most basic foundation for me to make a connection with people.