Nicole Franco: Charros
In between client-based shoots, photographers often pursue self-assigned projects with the aim of either bulking up a certain type of portfolio, exploring new artistic sentiments, and/or photographing something meaningful to them on a personal level. This was exactly what Mexico City-based photographer Nicole Franco had in mind when she began her ongoing personal project entitled Charros.
Charros is a personal fine art series about Mexico’s national sport. Charreada is a clear expression of Mexican heritage and while these images portray a cultural statement, they also attempt to impress the movement, aesthetic, and beauty within the horsemanship.
Charreada is a competitive event with a rich history in Mexico. Participants wear traditional clothing and can perform in up to nine different events similar to a rodeo. The events are performed on horseback and are traditionally accompanied by a mariachi band, and range from bull riding to roping, and to equestrian displays.
Growing up as a horseback rider, Nicole felt a personal connection to this project due to her close relationship with horses. As a creative, Nicole wanted to challenge herself to photograph something new and explore a deeper side of her artistry.
My documentary approach to shooting has always had a sensibility of fine art to it and I wanted to explore that further. It’s a departure and a challenge to exercise more control aesthetically. I wanted viewers to feel sentiments of strength, tension, grace, confidence … all these emotions that are nostalgic to me in the presence of charros and horses.
Throughout the shoot, Nicole was thrilled by the opportunity to photograph the traditional sport up close.
The charros were very gracious and patient with me. They took the time and effort to make sure I was satisfied with the images we were creating.
Nicole’s series is not yet complete, and she hopes to focus her next Charreada shoot on the female riders. Called Escaramuzas, they perform in different events from the men and showcase a unique riding style, usually sidesaddle.
While this project is ongoing, Nicole has been able to pursue new opportunities due to these images, including discussions with edition printers and galleries.
An image of this series was recently selected as a winner for the AI_AP Latin America Fotografia.
There’s a strong and diverse range of work coming out of Latin America and I’m proud to be representing Mexico.
Charros will be exhibited in July 2018 in the main room of Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This will mark Nicole’s first solo exhibition and will feature 25-30 images from this series. Nicole is also hoping to publish a book to be launched in conjunction with the opening of her exhibition.
See more of Nicole at nicolefranco.com!
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