Un día normal en la casa grande. Señora Lorraine enjoys a moment of self care and bonding with one of my aunts. Ciudad Radial, Juan Díaz, Panamá 🇵🇦 (2018)
Thank you to all those who supported and shared their own personal stories with me during this debut of the first bit of “Identidad.” The series is ongoing so there’s still more work to be made but I am even more motivated now to continue it. Thank you all so much for the inspiration! I can’t wait to go back home and God willing, I’ll one day be able to continue Identidad throughout the diaspora. One thing is for sure, I am dedicated to making this my life’s work!
My cousins Josiel, Dylan, y “Papu”
It’d been over 10 years since I’d last seen Papu (far right), it was when I lived there as a kid. I arrived at my aunt’s house camera in hand not knowing he’d be there, I had no idea what he looked like. Still, although I pulled up out of the blue he was open to being a part of the project and stepped right in front of the camera for me to take his portrait. It’s the best feeling in the world to have your family support you, no matter the time or distance! Cerro Batéa, San Miguelito, Panamá 🇵🇦 (2018)
My cousin and her daughter photographed in the living room of my aunt’s house. Even after being away for five years it was as though nothing had ever changed, except for the fact that I now had a new little cousin.🌹 Vista Hermosa, 24 de Diciembre, Panamá 🇵🇦 (2018)
Four sisters, my little cousins. Always so full of life, cracking jokes, and never sitting still. Anytime I’m in Panama they stay with me and keep me company 💚 Ciudad Radial, Juan Díaz. Panama City, Panamá 🇵🇦 (2018)
Humbled and honored to finally share some new personal work that is very near and dear to my heart. “Identidad” is an ongoing series of my family’s Afro-Latinx, Panamanian descent; a discovery of their identity and how it parallels my own. Furthermore, it is an extension of a wider subject I wish to address when it comes to the misrepresentation and erasure of Afro-Latinos.
Identidad, is photographed in the country where my parents and grandparents were born and raised, in the city where my Mother’s family has lived for 60+ years, and in the homes of where my family members currently reside. The best part about this series is that I am not in one single photograph, not due to the reason that I am shy but because I am seen through them. They’re my reflection as I am theirs. Some things this series has made clear to me is that I am most certainly proud of the following - I am Black, I am Afro-Latina, and I am the daughter of Panamanian immigrants.
It is a great privilege to preview the start of this series and debut it on VICE as part of their own series on #BlackLove. I held onto this project for over a year... barely sharing it with anyone. I wanted to find the right way to put it out into the world. I wanted things to be done with intention and respect. I wanted to tell my story and that of my family. After keeping mum for so long, I’m happy to say that my mission (at least the first part of it) has been accomplished. Seeing this article come out while I’m here in Panama with my family has made it even more bittersweet. Especially considering that I wasn’t supposed to be here, but we got hit with an unexpected loss and so I bought the first ticket out. There is so much darkness in this world and in the midst of it all nothing is ever promised. Hold your loved ones close at any and every given moment that you can.
I’ll be sharing each of the images individually with a personal anecdote over the next week or so. In the meantime, you can catch the full interview out now on vice.com. Thank you always for the support 🙏🏾
So incredibly proud and excited to share this new work!!! I did some Creative Directing and Photography for “Save Yourself” an EP by Nana (@nanaisking). Out today 3.26.19!
Nana has been quietly and diligently working on this project since last year. It was so under wraps that even I was unaware of it up until a certain point lol So, I am very honored to be part of this progression.
In the words of Nana himself, “Kayla don’t stand next to just anybody” and although that may seem a bit abrasive, it’s honestly one of the more truer statements that can be said about me. I really don’t stand next to just anybody. I could care less about associating with someone simply on the merits of their popularity or potential social benefit to my life. Your clout truly means nothing to me. Matter fact, your favorite President could hold a national address and tell every single person on this Earth to rock with you and I’d still look at you and say, Nah. You see, I’m not one of the easily swayed and I’m definitely not the type to be easily impressed.
I function off of integrity, truth, and goodwill. I stand next to those who are all soul and pure heart. I say all this to say, that Nana has exemplified each and every one of these things through his hard work and growth as an artist, as a friend and as a person. I rarely ask for anything on here, especially on behalf of someone else haha so this should let you know how much I believe in him and his music! So when Save Yourself drops later today, I need everyone to do me a huge favor and play it front to back, back to front, buy it, share it, blast it, then do it all over again. Please and Thank you! Oh, and it’s #DLGN 🙏🏾
Nathan Westling photographed for an exclusive for @cnn / @cnnstyle (2019)
One major moment from this shoot that stuck with me was when I showed Nathan the photos, he said “that’s me, that looks like me.” He then shared that I was only the 2nd person to photograph him this way. For that, I am honored.
You can now read the exclusive online or via tapping into your News app and heading over to CNN’s Style section! Thanks for bringing me on to shoot this @brettr.
Outtakes + personal faves of YG for Billboard (2018)
You can view the series in it’s entirety (along with other select works) on my website, if you haven’t already! Thanks again for this one @samantha_xu💥