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.
What are the messages you wish to represent?
I want to capture people in the most beautiful and dignified way I possibly can. I want to highlight beauty even when telling a harsher story.
What drives your passion in photography?
An obsession with human beings, with community, with skin, with nature and with "underdogs."
What impact do aim to make on the world?
I want to change narratives around marginalized communities. I want to blend art and awareness creation.
All photos by and courtesy of Denisse Ariana Perez