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Sienna and GaylePhotography by June Canedo

Intimate portraits of womxn with their first-generation immigrant mothers

June Canedo’s new photography series explores mother-daughter relationships through the power of collaboration

Lumix S Series

“I try to remain detached from themes and allow the stories to unfold naturally,” June Canedo told Dazed in 2014. “My photos revolve around my subjects and the bits and pieces of their personality." Five years on from when Dazed Digital last spoke with the Brooklyn-based photographer, Canedo’s practice remains centred around recounting the experiences of others. Although, as much as she attempts to emotionally seperate herself, her own history is often mirrored in the images she makes. The same sentiment rings true for Canedo’s latest project: a documentary-style series of portraits focusing on daughters with their first generation immigrant mothers, taken in their home environments in New York. 

The series, which she shot using the Lumix S Series camera and is currently an untitled work in progress, not only offers an intimate, ‘through the keyhole’ view into the lives of her subjects, but speaks of Canedo’s own family dynamics – the photographer grew up in Brazil under a strong matriarchy with her mother and eight aunts. “These images contextualise the mother-daughter relationships of first and second-generation immigrant womxn living in the United States,” she explains. 

The womxn in the photographs are friends of Canedo’s: Antonia and María Estela, Kiara and Miguelina, Monica and Gricel, Sienna and Gayle, and Stefa and Amaris. Each mother and daughter is shown sitting together, in natural poses that highlight their closeness, either giggling at their pet chihuahua or peeling cloves of garlic for dinner. The backdrops also subtly reveal elements of their cultural stories.“Take the image of Antonia and Maria for example,” says Canedo.“This image was taken in the apartment where Antonia grew up, also the first apartment Maria was able to buy when she migrated from Chile. The framed embroidery on the wall behind them was made by Maria and the painting in the background is of Antonia’s brother. Because they chose the location, there are layers of memories embedded in the image, which I could not have created on my own.”

Focussing on the power of collaboration is something that Canedo has been experimenting with since the beginning of 2019 in particular, involving her subjects with the final edit of images and even in their composition. It’s also how she intends to move forward with this project and future work. “When the subject is essentially in control of their own gaze, the work develops in ways I could not have imagined alone,” she explains. “I am enjoying the shared experience of making collaborative photography work and look forward to seeing how it changes the way I make use of the camera.” 

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