Camila Rodrigo Graña (Lima, Perú, 1983) changed her fate when, one year before finishing journalism studies, she decided to devote her life to photography. After three years at Centro de la Imagen in Peru, she left for Milan where she completed a Masters in photography and design in Naba/Forma. This young, emerging photographer was selected by Aperture Foundation’s book and exhibition project reGeneration2: an attempt to offer a scope on emerging photography after revision of 700 portfolios from schools world wide. Since then, her work has been shown internationally.
The artist works in series, such as Simulacrum, Abancay or New Urban Actor, which portray Peru’s society. We can see some of the journalistic gaze in the urge to photograph her close environment. Rodrigo Graña’s documents the paraphernalia of her own group of friends in Lima and other confronting aspects of the city, using sometimes a documentary style, others the language of fashion photography and advertising. She walks the path of photographers such as Nan Goldin with the eyes of someone who has absorbed today’s global culture. Rodrigo Graña defies photography’s object/subject positions by placing her own friends and life style in front of the lens, therefore exploring her own subjectivity defined within the parameters of the city and her social group. This is the gaze of some one who left and came back to see what wasn’t noticeable before. It’s only after we see our own life from outside that we can objectively understand its uniqueness and explain it to the rest.
Now that everyone has a camera in the pocket, we must ask ourselves: what is the value of photography today? Everyday aesthetics has become a category on its own. It is the way to explore and see the world; randomly shooting at everything, we want to appropriate every bit of reality around us in order to define our identity. Today’s photographers are not foreign to this as they incorporate it to their work. Rodrigo Graña’s is an example of this phenomenon: while acknowledging and embracing a certain photographic tradition, her work speaks a language that incorporates the “impression” of the everyday random shot. But far from objective, her lens captures her own self by directing it at her closest environment. She becomes judge and jury of her own photography.