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“This uncertainty I encounter every time I shoot a photo always teaches me a new lesson, it is something I even yearn for.”

From The Bustling Streets To The Tranquil Lens: An Artist’s Genesis

Isabel Herrera, born in 1975 in Guatemala, grew up in the bustling heart of Guatemala City, where she currently resides with her family and a lively entourage of five dogs. Herrera pursued a BA degree in Psychology from the prestigious College of William and Mary in Virginia. Initially, her professional journey veered towards the realm of Education, specializing in early intervention therapies for autism, alongside engaging in family business endeavors. The chapter of motherhood has notably enriched Herrera’s artistic journey, as her offspring not only embodies her muse but also partakes as a remarkable aide in her photographic expeditions.

Herrera’s affection for the outdoors and a steady yoga practice serve as conduits to achieving mental clarity and focus. These elements are quintessential to her daily routine and the nurturing of her artistic ingenuity. The embrace of nature revitalizes her essence, providing the grounding from which her creativity blossoms. Through a blend of daily physical engagement and contemplative pauses, Isabel Herrera continues to explore the expansive canvas of artistic expression, capturing the ephemeral yet enduring essence of her surroundings and experiences.

A Family’s Artistic Legacy: The Making of A Photographer

Raised amidst a circle of artists, most notably her mother—an adept in large format compositions, batiks, and paper collages—Isabel Herrera was destined for a life intimately entwined with artistic expression. Her mother’s venture into haute couture, manifesting in the creation of exquisite dresses for Herrera’s formal occasions, extended a sophisticated palette of artistic comprehension to her. Through a lens of apprenticeship, whether active or observational, Herrera’s affinity for the arts was enriched, cultivating a fertile ground for her eventual foray into the realm of photography.

The familial photographer, her father, sowed the early seeds of curiosity towards photography within Herrera, though the blossoming of this interest awaited the year 2013. It was an influential collaboration with the esteemed Guatemalan photographer, Luis Gonzalez Palma, that nudged Herrera further down the path of photographic exploration. This venture refined her perception, fostering a deeper appreciation and an acute observation of the world that surrounded her, earmarking a significant phase in her photographic odyssey.

A harrowing event in 2016, which saw Herrera trapped between her car and a wall, served as an inflection point, catalyzing a profound relationship with instant photography. Initially enchanted by digital photography, it was the allure of “polaroid-like” images that veered her towards the embrace of actual Polaroid cameras, a fascination that intensified following her encounter with the Polaroid SX70. The act of capturing fleeting moments through the lens of a Polaroid camera evokes a resonance not only with Emily Dickinson’s musings on life’s transient sweetness, but also mirrors the unpredictability inherent in life, bestowing lessons with every frame captured. Through this nuanced medium, Herrera continues to explore the ephemeral yet impactful nature of moments, etching her narrative in the sands of the artistic domain.

The Ethereal Realms of Polaroid: Herrera’s Visual Narrative

Engaging with the international community of Polaroid aficionados has unfurled a plethora of enriching encounters for Isabel Herrera, offering her a podium to exhibit, evolve, and derive inspiration. Although the geographical distance from Guatemala to the primary sources of cameras, repair services, and films in the US or Europe imposes a challenge, the endeavor remains an exhilarating voyage for Herrera.

Artistically, Herrera’s creations are a reflective pool of her dreamscapes, encapsulating a surreal and fantastical narrative that reverberates with her inner veracity. The meticulous process of emulsion lifting, reminiscent of life’s unforeseeable temperament, serves as a therapeutic venture and a ritual of acceptance for the artist, embodying a quest for serenity amidst life’s tumult. The choice of medium—whether brushed aluminum, chiffon, or acrylic—is meticulously made by Herrera, hinging on the emotion and narrative that is ensconced within the image she captures. Through these nuanced choices, Herrera continues to transmute her ethereal visions into tangible pieces that invite observers into her whimsical realm.

Enchanting Realities: The Tools and Inspirations Behind Herrera’s Work

Central to Isabel Herrera’s artistic workspace are her chosen instruments – the SLRS670-S or SX70 cameras, complemented by an ample supply of Polaroid Color 600 Film or Black and White Film packs. The tranquil embrace of the outdoors further augments her creative realm, fostering a profound communion with nature which is quintessential for her inventive expedition. Although this voyage is at times interrupted by life’s mundane distractions, it remains a cherished endeavor for Herrera.

The spectrum of influences on Herrera’s artistry is vast and emotionally resonant. Her daughter, a beacon of strength amidst the challenges of autism, significantly shapes Herrera’s perspective. The inexhaustible creativity demonstrated by her mother, the steadfast support from close friends and family, along with the enigmatic allure from a legion of revered names such as Sally Mann, Rembrandt, and Emily Dickinson, continuously breathe inspiration into her work.

A notable highlight within Herrera’s creative odyssey is the “Matilisguate Series”. This captivating series encapsulates the ephemeral bloom of cherry trees in Guatemala City, embodying a tapestry of cultural nostalgia and traditional reminiscence. Through this series, Herrera eloquently explores a recurring favorite theme that tenderly celebrates family, tradition, and the transient essence of time, thus intertwining her artistic narrative with a gentle evocation of bygone moments and enduring familial bonds.

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