Photographer Interview: Roxana Marroquin

Recently I went to a “Editing Your Portfolio” workshop held by En Foco. Photographer Roxana Marroquin pulled out a stack of Lith prints that combined images shot on black & white film with photograms.

These images (as seen below) were haunting and dream-like, leaving us all with our jaws dropped in awe and admiration.

D&B: Where are you from?

RM: I’m originally from El Salvador in Central America. I moved to the United States when I was 8.

D&B: What kind of photography do you shoot and how did you get started – any “formal” training?

RM: I consider myself a fine art photographer and I do work about my own experience: such as being displaced as a child, my migrant experience, my own psyche, my body, and the experiences of being a woman. My photographs begin with self portraits or from Nature, which then I explore and develop further until I find some truth about myself that is also universal.

My training began in college, in my Junior year when I took my first photography class and I fell in love. I have a BA in Photography from New Jersey City University.

From the series, Realm of Shadows by Roxana Marroquin

D&B: What cameras or techniques do you use?

RM: My cameras and techniques are still very traditional and vary from project to project. I have worked with Polaroids, 35mm SLR’s, large format, medium format, and my favorite – the Holga!

Every series of work I do is different and it usually develops and evolves on its own. In my latest series of work, I experiment with Lith developer and with placing objects on top of the paper to create photograms. Then I combined both techniques which gave the dreamy, ethereal feeling I was looking for.

D&B: Who are your mentors (in photography)?

RM: My professors from NJCU – Mauro Altamura and Deborah Jack who are true artists that use photography as their medium. And I find that my work is influenced by Francesca Woodman, Ana Mendieta, and Lucas Samaras.

From the series, Realm of Shadows by Roxana Marroquin

D&B: Have you experienced any setbacks or different treatment along your photography career that you would attribute to being a photographer of color? (this question is optional)

RM: Not directly or that I am aware of…

D&B: When did you realize you could have a career in photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a working photographer.

RM: When I realized that there is nothing else I’d rather do, and that the effort and passion that I put into my work does not feel like work, but it is something I must do.

I am fortunate to have a career as a Photo Editor (which I landed after a few internships during and after college) which pays the rent and allows me the freedom to be an artist during the rest of my time.

D&B: What do you hope to achieve with your photography?

RM: A thorough understanding of myself and the world in a way that when others view my work it will lead to their own understanding of themselves and their own reality in relation to the world. I hope that by exposing the experience of one individual (myself) they will gain a broader understanding of what others go through.

From the series, Realm of Shadows by Roxana Marroquin

D&B: What’s your dream photography project?

RM: To travel to my homeland, El Salvador, and create a project with my native land and people. I have not been able to do yet because of the violence and crime that is so prevalent in the country. I hope that one day I will be able to reclaim a connection to the country and its people that I feel I have lost because I have been away for so long.

D&B: What’s the biggest (life) lesson you’ve learned through photography?

RM: That everything is everything! I have observed the cycles of nature and how they relate to the cycles of my mind, my spirit, myself… I have learned that as in all things on this Earth, I am in a constant cycle of birth, death and regeneration.

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