Josefina Santos is an art director and photographer who was born in Bogotá, Colombia but is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Her photography lives between the worlds of portraiture, photojournalism and editorial photography. She explores her work using analog photographic processes and is currently examining social issues through self-experience and subjective storytelling.
In 2016 she attended the prestigious year-long workshop at Atelier Smedsby under the guidance of Swedish photographer JH Engström and French photographer Margot Wallard. This experience gave her the opportunity to reflect on a different way of seeing photojournalism and fine art photography. During this period of time she started to develop her body of work and her first project “Misfortune Never Comes Alone” Her work has been featured in VICE Magazine, The Creators Project, BULLETT, New York Magazine, LOVE Magazine and has won awards from Life-Framer and AI-AP.
Misfortune Never Comes Alone
At a certain moment in time, poverty and scarcity caught up with the dominant feudal families in Sincelejo. A small agrarian town with blazing hot temperatures on the Northern Coast of Colombia. My grandmothers worst fears became a reality: the abundance the family once possessed started to slowly, but surely waste off. Luster dulled. Poorness hovered. My mother bore witness to the changes around them. As my grandmother grew weak of spirit and her presence disappeared, she became aware of the inherent strength and resilience of those she least expected. The people who worked in the house, especially her ayah, became her source of strength and comfort as her mother abandoned her.
My mother’s experience with her side of the family echoed deeply in me when I read her childhood memoirs. I was raised in Bogotá, Colombia, strongly knitted to my father’s dominant brood, and hers was a distant entity, physically and culturally, with which my brother and I had little in common. In almost every sense the two places are worlds apart. Nonetheless, in the strong humanity of my mothers’ accounts, I recognized myself as if no disparities ever existed between us. Immediately drawn by this realization I traveled to Sincelejo, in pursuit of this strong yet little-known connection.
As a response to this curiosity I began an immersive photographic exploration of the people, places, landscapes, and traditions that make up this town and its surroundings. Using my grandmother and the rest of my extended family as a starting point and through virtually untouched scenery’s soaked with timeless traditions, I’ve slowly begun to uncover a broader portrait of life in the Northern Coast of Colombia, and with it a part of my own identity.
To view more of Josefina’s work please visit their website.