One of the most recognizable aspects of Frida Kahlo that has catapulted the once unknown Mexican painter into one of the most unmistakable cultural zeitgeists has been the way in which Frida adorned herself. The traditional dresses of Tehuantepec, the ornamentation of heavy jewelry that was said to audibly cling & clang when she entered a room. The celebrated unibrow and the fine hairs that lined her lip. All of these perceived quirks are features that weaved to create the external magic that we see today when we look at images of Kahlo. Her personal expression in her dress and stature worked together as an unwaivering representation of the anarchy against beauty standards and societal norms. Frida’s look acted as it’s own art piece throughout her life and for many, defined what it meant to be a fearless woman standing firmly in her own truth.
After Fridamania hit, many people have tried to emulate a style that was a genuine expression of what Kahlo was experiencing internally. She wore her fight, her love, her hate, her point of view right there on her hand-embroidered huipil, with fresh flowers entertwined between her dark strands. I’d like to the think that the color of her surroundings gave her life when she could not feel any in her own physical body. And although we can all theorize what her experience was like and why she made the choices she made, we’ll only truly be left with that outer expression that made her so wildly popular today.
When I took these photos for this project, all the details were very important to me. I did not want to take from Frida, ravaging a style & cultural that is not mine own. Instead, the time spent over the two months I was immersed in learning Frida, I was focused on how I could channel her energy through the portrait sittings while allowing my own clothing & sets be a representative of my own personal experience. It is human nature to look to extraordinary people for example and giudance along this winding path called life. I hope to that generations after mine are still excited to learn and dive deep into the psyche, work, spirituality and love of Frida Kahlo. And in doing so, be called to be the most bad-ass, brilliant & authentically expressed you that ever did it. Santa Frida would watch over with an austere half-smile and be proud.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the the final installment of the Frida: Digging Deeper Photo Series, please feel free to reach me with any comments, thoughts, feedback in the comments below or shoot me an email at info (at) lalanyc.com. This to be a safe space for perspective, discussion and dialogue. <3