Above: A self-portrait of Jenn Carrillo. Photographs by Jenn Carrillo.

Jenn Carrillo, a photographer born and raised in Albuquerque, with roots in the Belén area, draws primarily from Hispanic culture in the images she captures. She explores themes of femininity in her portrait work, photographing friends from her brown community. Other photos feature lowriders with glittery paint jobs and lush leather interiors. Under the light of the desert sun, all take on a dreamlike quality.

How does New Mexico inspire and influence your work?
For a long time, New Mexico was all I knew. It wasn’t until I started to travel more that I realized capturing the things I know is what I was most confident in. I am heavily influenced by the culture and its people. This is my home. It is so gentle, so full of color.

What do lowriders represent for you?
Style. I love how they move, the way they are shaped, the color. Not one is the same. A lowrider is someone’s soul. The best ones are always custom-built; you can always tell someone put a lot of love into each one.

Jenn Carrillo creates poignant portraits.
Above: Some of Carrillo's work.

When did you start taking pictures?
I always joke and say forever ago, but since I was a kid. One thing I always had was a camera, even if it was just a disposable film camera. It was the one thing that always just made sense to me.

What do your photos say about your own identity?
My photos are my complete and whole truth. They are fueled by love and passion; little pieces of me I choose to share.

What do you do when you need to gather creative fuel?
Whenever I need inspiration, I like to go for a walk or a drive and listen to music. I try to be present somewhere and just pay attention. There are a lot of beautiful things to capture or create, you just have to be open to them.

Jenn Carrillo creates poignant portraits.Above: Carrillo creates poignant portraits.

If you could choose anyone in the world to photograph, who would you choose and why?
Frank Ocean. He’s an artist I admire and it would be a privilege to take a portrait of him. I look at all my photos while his songs play in the background.

What does femininity mean to you?
Femininity is power. It’s soft and beautiful—but it can cut right through you.

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Keep up with Carrillo’s explorations of place and culture on her Instagram @jennisradd.