Kinship of Nature

My project is about me trying to understand myself better through the things I do and the things I like. I understand myself more while daydreaming and creating different scenarios in my head. I feel more comfortable when I am alone and not having to explain myself around others. This project is a learning experience for me because I now know that the relationships that I have with others are not hanging on by threads, but simply have their strong points and weak points. While creating this project, I analyzed my relationship with myself because you can’t love or care about others without understanding yourself. I've come to the conclusion that I am quite creative and have solid beliefs that can be changed depending on different experiences.

Nature helps me destress. Even in those times when I feel like giving up completely, I think about my imaginary friend that will always be there for me through my hard times: NATURE!!! I try to surround myself with nature because it reminds me of the peaceful balance of the life cycle of plants. When I surround myself with any form of nature, I feel closer to my Taino ancestors because they relied on nature for most of their needs. Nature reminds me of my grandmother because she taught me about different types of herbal medicines. She had her own herbs and plant garden. Whenever I think about my grandmother, I am reminded of all the stories she would tell me; from the time she emigrated from Puerto Rico as a young girl, to the stories about raising my dad. She was my best friend and still is part of my inner-circle of those who will always understand me without explanation. When I was little, I didn’t have many friends, but that changed when she taught me something that I hope stays with me for the rest of my life: how to use nature to calm down and how to confide in myself instead of depending on others.

Photography has helped me get closer to my family. It helped me have some of the conversations I was scared of having with them. I can understand them better and we've become closer. I am really close to my brother Lucas. When I was younger, I didn’t have many friends at the time and once Lucas came into the world, I wasn’t by myself anymore. With him, it became easier to have the childhood that I wanted. Before Lucas, it was just me and my mom. It was the same cycle every day, going to the Bronx for my mom’s job and then back to Yonkers. My life felt very feminine in those years because all the people around me were women. I wasn’t exposed to masculinity at that time. My mom is a hardcore feminist, and I want to learn from that part of her. I feel grateful to her for teaching me to defend and stand up for myself from a young age. Many family relationships are difficult and sometimes lead to getting into arguments, but, at the end of the day, you all love each other. I think my mom and I have a close,  but different, bond because we both have had hard childhoods, and I feel we both understand what we want to change. I want to tell her not to feel guilty for any of the past decisions she made. And I want to say thank you, because I never felt like I had the chance to.

I felt disconnected from myself the whole day. I couldn’t express what I was feeling. I tried sleeping and crying it away, but the tears did not want to fall. Looking back, this photograph makes me feel powerful. The fan reminds me of the powerful feminism of the drag community.

The clouds seem to be wispily calling out to me saying, “hey kid, get your head out of the clouds.”

My nails are the longest they’ve ever been. Just like life, they break and fall apart. 

Not your traditional family photo. A framed photograph of my dad, me, and my mom.

My mom boards the flight to Arizona for a family vacation. Whenever I fly, I feel like we are going to crash and die. When my mom holds my hand, it helps me feel safe. We both get scared, but we try to stay strong for each other. 

My brother helped me take a self-portrait of my misery with having terrible seasonal allergies. 

My brother, Lucas, on the plane. He is my best friend. We annoy each other a lot, but we are still cool with each other. 

These balloons were set up for my birthday. I never really liked my birthday because I feel like I am hiding behind a mask that I am forced to keep up.

I try to have anything that looks like nature in my bedroom. I am attempting to immerse my life with more greenery as I grow an avocado tree in my bedroom.

I love looking out the window. I want to go outside and go to the park so I can meditate and escape feeling trapped. Looking out the window inspires me. Nature calms me down, even if it’s one tree. 

My stepdad likes birds because they are significant in our Taino culture. Our Taino ancestors believe birds to be messengers. While I was in the Grand Canyon, the tour guide said birds don’t fly in the canyon anymore because there isn’t much life or plants. As the tour guide finished saying this, a raven flew over our heads. My stepdad interpreted this as a message to keep our beliefs alive. 

This is a small tree from a trip to Arizona and I noticed how lonely the tree seemed, even when surrounded by so much beautiful scenery. 

Ants are very small but travel very fast. I wanted to show an ant's perspective of how they make their way up trees.

My brother’s silhouette is highlighted by the dreamlike clouds around him. My brother loves his long hair. It makes him different from most boys his age.

Using sticks, rocks, and some sand, my mom spelled out the words “Family” and “Ohana.” Ohana means family and love for your family. My mom loves the movie “Lilo and Stitch” because it shows a not-so-normal family that still loves each other.

Using Format