To produce the series, Montoya researched the sacred heart, a cross-cultural symbol originating with the Aztecs.
The Spanish appropriated the image into the hybrid Christian symbolism of Jesus' pierced heart.
"I liked the idea that it was a process that was archival," Montoya said, "-- that it could stand up to time. The ink will last as long as the paper lasts."
A close look at the portrait reveals an owl sitting on the dresser behind the author. Anaya brought the stuffed bird -- the curandera's symbol of power and soul -- from his book "Bless Me, Ultima," to the session.
Montoya's "La Guadalupana" is another symbol created in the collision of Spanish Catholicism with indigenous Mexican religion. According to the official Catholic account, an apparition of the Virgin appeared to the shepherd Juan Diego at a sacred
Montoya re-enacted the appearance in "Diego y
"Women Boxers" includes a portrait of famed
"I was thinking about bad girls," she said, "--malcriadas. Who are the contemporary bad girls? I thought, that would be the female boxers.
"She walks into the bastion of maleness. But the feminists are saying, 'You're hitting each other!' They're malcriadas."
The photographer expected to encounter a parade of gang members, but discovered she could not have been more mistaken.
"These women are athletes," she said, "and they want the combat sport; that's what they desire. They're not saying, 'I can't do this because I'm a girl.'"
The Holm portrait shows the boxer sitting in the ring, her muscled back to the camera as she adjusts her hair.
"She has this amazing, powerful back," Montoya said. "I wanted to present her as an athlete and to see that muscle structure. And she has this beautiful long, blonde hair. You're going to have to rethink your stereotypes."
The color panoramic photographs of "Sed: Trail of Thirst" document the American borderlands and the human suffering associated with clandestine migration. The images evoke stretches of hot and arid landscapes, hostile terrain traversed annually by thousands of migrants. But instead of showing people making the journey, Montoya puts the viewer in their shoes.
"In many ways, that is a portrait," Montoya said. "What I'm looking at is what has been left behind by the community.
"The land has a memory and in the land we can tell where we've been and who's been there. The land holds our cries; it holds our desires. I was looking at the scars that have been left there.
"The work in the show is my evolution of portraiture," Montoya said. "It's my way of understanding my world around me."
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