Zuly Garcia-Diaz

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Zuly Garcia-Diaz (AKA Sabrina Garcia) (born October 6, 1996) is a self-taught photographer, producer, art director, and activist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. [1] They are known for their photography that communicates sociopolitical themes and seeks to address and educate viewers about issues of race, class, gender identity, and nontraditional ideas of beauty.

Biography[edit]

Zuly Garcia-Diaz (Sabrina Garcia) was born October 6, 1996 in the United States. They are a child of Oaxacan immigrants who migrated to the United States during the 1990s.[2] Growing up, Zuly frequently traveled between Oaxaca and Los Angeles. As a result of their family’s constant movement, Zuly received their early education both in the United States and Mexico. During their middle school years, their frequent traveling between the two countries subsided and they settled down in the South Central cities of Jefferson Park and Mid-City. Growing up simultaneously immersed in between these very different worlds informs Zuly’s art making. Their time spent in Oaxaca allowed them to connect with their indigenous roots in ways that might not have been possible in Los Angeles. Likewise, living in various cities within Los Angeles allowed them to connect with the culture and communities present in L.A, and they feel that their years spent growing up in these cities molded who they are. Intimately connected to both Oaxaca as well as Los Angeles, Zuly seeks to represent and uplift members of both communities in their work.

As a child, Zuly embraced their creative side. They often competed and won in organized art shows throughout elementary and middle school. When they were thirteen they purchased their first Kodak camera and began to experiment by taking portraits of family and friends.[1] Zuly found themself heavily influenced by the influx of visual media that saturated early-mid 2000s culture via social media outlets such as MySpace and Tumblr, and this influence can be seen in their early work which consisted of many self-portraits. At fifteen their uncle gifted them their first DSLR camera, and their exploration of the medium continued from there. It wasn’t until they enrolled in a film class their junior year of high school that they began to consider art and photography a potential career avenue. During this class, they gained experience working in film, participating in a variety of roles from creative director, to producer and cinematographer. Impressed by the work they were producing in this class, their teacher encouraged them to submit their film work for a scholarship, and in their senior year of high school Zuly was the recipient of the 20th Century Fox Dorsey High School Film Festival Scholarship. During their senior year of high school, they shifted away from film as they realized their passion lay in photography.

After graduating high school, Zuly attended California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), CA, where they received their Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. While attending CSULB, Zuly enrolled in classes such as Women’s Studies and Chicanx Literature which discussed theory and history related to race, class, and gender. These topics resonated deeply with Zuly, as they connected to the material analyzed in these courses. Both inspired and informed, Zuly wanted to communicate these complex issues to members of their community who might not have access to institutional academic spaces. It was then that Zuly’s work gained a strong socio-political charge, as they hoped to elucidate some of the issues that permeated both their Oaxacan and Los Angeles communities.

Throughout their time in college, Zuly pursued photography as a hobby and continuously practiced shooting friends and partners. Additionally, Zuly grew close to the photography community in Los Angeles through their continual involvement in photomeets in which hundreds of local photographers would meet at various locations to photograph the same subject in an effort to develop their expertise and portfolios. Looking back, Zuly feels that their participation in these photo-meets was a pivotal aspect of their career as an emerging photographer, as it allowed them not only the space to experiment but also the opportunity to learn and grow alongside other photographers of different skill sets and backgrounds.

Presently, Zuly continues to live and work out of Los Angeles. Their work continues to gain popularity for its vibrant use of color, creative staging, and representation of nontraditional models who challenge societal norms. Zuly’s work continues to gain recognition in a variety of media and news outlets such as Mic News, NPR USA Latino, Mitú, Fierce by Mitú Undocumedia, Hip Latina, Vogue España, and Voyage LA Magazine. Local and international companies have repeatedly reached out to Zuly for collaborations, and they have produced and photographed content for well known brands such as Google, FootAction x Nike, Mitú, Girlfriend, Loquita Bath and Body, Nikon and more.[3] Zuly continues to expand their artistic capabilities as can be seen in their production of a 10ft x 20ft rose wall installation created for the Los Angeles Music Center and Performing Arts’ annual Sleepless event in 2019. They continue to offer their work for community based organizations and fundraising while carving out new spaces in media outlets to represent multicultural and diverse individuals in the community.

Works[edit]

Flores Politicos Series

Flores Politicos is a series of photographs that celebrates POC and gender non-conforming individuals while shattering ideas about conventional European beauty standards. In this series, Zuly sought to represent indigenous folks as well as those who did not fit traditional ideas of what might be deemed “beautiful”. One way that they translate this message throughout the series is through the use of Barbie dolls that the models utilize throughout the series. Various photographs picture the models dismembering and burning the Barbies in a statement that rejects pre-conceived notions of beauty. Additionally, Zuly brings indigenous representation to the forefront as seen in the selection of a indigenous models who display their heritage through their Oaxacan garments. Zuly also adorns the space with traditional Mexican cloth and native flowers to further represent indigenous heritage and roots.

Slauson Ave.

Slauson Ave. was a collaboration between Maria and Zuly and their stylist. In this series, the model is photographed throughout various places in South Central. These places, such as the Slauson Mall are spaces that are culturally relevant to those who grew up in South Central. Zuly sought to capture the culture of South Central by photographing the model going about their day in spaces that members of the community are familiar with. They sought to communicate the culture and lifestyle of South Central community members to their viewers, and hoped that this series would exemplify the beauty of South Central’s people, places, and landscapes.

A Hairy and Body Positive Galentine’s Day

A Hairy and Body Positive Galentine’s Day is a series of photographs that feature femme and non-binary identifying individuals celebrating their natural body and natural body hair.  Different flowers adorn the set as well as a wall of roses which models pose in front of while flaunting their natural body. Inspiration for this series came at a time when Zuly was attending a Women’s Studies course at CSULB. They were inspired after hearing about the ways women have resisted societal expectations and questioned the origins of some of these long-held gender expectations fabricated by society. A Hairy and Body Positive Galentine’s Day not only serves as an act of resistance and protest against mainstream beauty standards, but also communicates a message of self-love and self-acceptance. This series not only celebrates the natural body, but also celebrates platonic relationships not centered in heteronormativity on Valentine's Day, which is a day commonly associated with and catered to heterosexual romantic relationships.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "About". Crenshaw Proletariat. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  2. Garcia-Diaz, Zuly. "Meet Zuly Garcia | LA City Guide". Voyage LA Magazine (Interview). Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  3. "Crenshaw Proletariat". Crenshaw Proletariat. Retrieved 2021-03-15.


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