Coming to the U.S. was like entering an entirely new world. The language, the environment…everything was so different. At first my family and I moved fairly often until we finally settled in the South Bronx. I have been living in the same apartment for 33 years now and am really proud of the roots I have in this community and the life my family has built!

I have a passion for photography, and love capturing the moment as it unfolds in front of me. It must run in the family! My father was a lithograph photographer and worked at a very famous magazine in Ecuador—he’s been my inspiration. I love to take pictures of my family and friends, my grandkids, and the places I travel. It allows me to capture a beautiful moment and be able to repeat those memories and images again and again.

I enrolled in my first photography class 2 years ago. I thought it would be difficult, but I love learning and it has actually been a very rewarding experience. I’ve learned about techniques and vocabulary, and everything from self-timers and choosing camera angles, to photo composition.

This year I photographed more of myself in intimate places. I am most proud of the photo I took when I was in my bedroom, because sometimes people don’t want to see another person’s feet, but I don’t care what they say. I took this photo in privacy, with not too much light, so now I’m not afraid to take a picture of my feet, or my shoes.

I’m extremely grateful to my teachers in the program—Ms. Santos and Ms. Dionio. I’ve really been able to count on them and on the program, especially this year during COVID-19, when I learned so much more about taking pictures.

After a relaxing bath, I laid down on my bed facing the cross. I bought this cross in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1979, 40 years ago, when my first daughter was born and kept it as protection for the both of us. Bronx, NY. 2020. 

A self-portrait taken after a relaxing shower. I felt a little embarrassed, but I still took it. Bronx, NY. April 29, 2021.

When I suddenly saw the light reflecting off my wedding picture, memories came back to me. The photo is from May 25, 1979 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Bronx, NY. 2021.

My daughter Stephanie’s room. She does not live with me, but I keep this room exactly the same as she left it. When I am in her room, it feels like she is with me. Bronx, NY. February 25, 2021. 

My granddaughter Rowan spent a weekend with me. Here she watches TV in Titi Stephanie’s room, surrounded by pillows, hugging her unicorn, and wearing her birthday crown. Bronx, NY. March 25, 2021. 

My granddaughter Rowan Riley models in front of the 2020 Father’s Day cards she made. Bronx, NY. 2020. 

On my altar, I keep pictures of family and friends who died, the figure of Nino Divino I was at the St. Jerome’s raffle, the Virgen de Guadalupe, and small Jesus nativities. I am Catholic and they protect me. When I go on trips, I tell them to take care of my house. Bronx, NY. April 29, 2021.

On my door, I have my figure of Jesus as a protection, my keys, and a note from my exterminator. Bronx, NY. April 2021.

I took this picture while practicing using self-timers. I am proud of this picture. April 29, 2021. 

The altar for the Virgin of Guadalupe outside of the St. Jerome Church in the South Bronx. I pass it everyday when I walk to work and each time I pass her, I ask her for protection for me and my family. I feel the Virgin always protects me. Bronx, NY. 2021.

Vacation in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. April 24, 2021.

Sunset at the New York Botanical Gardens. I attended the Yayoi Kusama “Cosmic Nature” show with my daughter Stephanie. I directed her to stand in a way and take a photo where her shadow looked like it was holding my hand. Bronx, NY. 2021.

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