This is my eighth in my series about people or works of art that inspire me to pursue my photographic and artistic passions and this time the person is a bit closer to home: my sister-in-law, Margarita Aragon-Lopez.
Margarita is one of those artists that work quietly outside of the spotlight. Sure her friends and family are aware of her oft present camera, but she seeks neither fame nor attention with her photography. Instead she makes her art for the sake of making it, when moved to do so, according to her desires, and resists any efforts by others (read, me!) to move it along at a rate uncomfortable for her. Her work has not appeared in magazines or been sold in galleries, but it moves me for its simplicity, its purity, and its directness. Repeatedly I am drawn to look at her images for reasons unknown to me. And for me that is the purpose of art: to move me on a level even I do not understand.
Recently she traveled throughout Europe and parts of Asia on a journey whose purpose is known only to her, accompanied simply by her Nikon D80 and her 28-55mm kit lens, and produced a body of work that bears viewing. Working mostly in black and white and cross-process, Margarita’s fine artist’s eye (she has training in drawing and painting) draws the viewer into the image through subtle and powerful attention to light and mood. Often she hints at the internal world of her subjects allowing, as well as requiring, the viewer’s subjective input into the experience of the image. This is not the kind of work to view and say, ” hey, that’s a pretty picture.” Instead this is the kind of work that makes the viewer pause at first to try to discover what she is saying with the image. And eventually the viewer needs to ask themselves what they make of the image.
Margarita reminds me about the simple nature of art making. Sure, the technicality of it all can become all-encompassing, but the urge to create needs to be respected. And sometimes it is important to sweep the distractions that hinder the expression of that urge aside and connect with the deeper expression, beyond words, of our experience in this world, in this time. She reminds me that it is not simply what moves us externally that should entice us to make images; perhaps it should also equally be what moves us internally. And perhaps that can be reflected in a finished product that moves others to look inwards as well; but that only occurs when we make our images primarily for the sake of moving ourselves.