Category Archives: female portrait

Innocence in a boy’s eyes

Photo I shot of my model Abigail.

I wanted to mimic Renoir’s vision of women changing or bathing. Of course one of the great masters of painting did it in a time so different from our own. Today the idea of seeing a women in a private place seems more apt for a sexy webcam chat. Perhaps we need to go back to the basics.

Something that always struck me about the work of Renoir is the pastel rose tones that inundate his cadres (paintings). There are some of his oevres (artwork) here in Mexico City at the Soumaya Museum. They are my favorites to go and see. I see those rosy brush strokes bring innocence and peeping tom curiosity intertwined into one. No man can say, “Oh right, a nude women bathing” and carry on. There is an element of voyeurism in Renoir’s paintings, but more realistic, almost as if seen by a honest-to-God curious boy. And maybe, just maybe, this is why women are able to see his paintings without overtly censoring ideas.

His arrangement of innocence and voyeurism always defined the way I wanted to portray my work of portrait photography. After all, in case you haven’t noticed, I tend to paint, draw, photograph, and write poetry about women.

Abigail. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Abigail. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Photographing everyday women

Portrait I shot of my Mexican model Lina.

I love to do portraitures with everyday girls and women I meet out there. From the most elaborate to the simplest (like in this case) I ask if they’ll like to model. Usually many don’t know consider themselves as models — you’d be surprised the huge low self-esteem that roams amongst women.

People I know are fascinated by how I approach them — I’m not. So here’s how I do it, I simply approach a totally strange female and ask them if they would like being photographed (either on the spot or by appointment, depends of the kind of girl). Sometimes this takes place at public places, i.e. movie theaters, parks, grocery stores, malls, museums, and even at kid’s parties (yeah, I’m a dad, so I don’t frequent actual parties, lol).

And actually people do get excited, especially if there’s a husband or boyfriend involved since they encourage them. But I don’t do it massively, or randomly. First of all they have to be a girl I see myself photographing. Second, they need to have an air of je ne sais quoi that tells me she may be willing to do so. After all, a camera lens can be intimidating and even invasive.

So even though I state they are MY models, they’re actually ordinary people, moms, or college students. Tricky part is they have to be of legal age, and sometimes when they’re underage (search for my teen model Adriana) I must have her parent’s/guardian’s permission.

Lina. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña. Lina. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mary Magdalene portrait

Mary Magdalene. Graphite on paper. 8 x 11.

Portrait I did based on my own personal idea of what this famous woman of Christianity looked like.

Mary of Magdala was a great woman for Christianity, who has been considered  the 13th disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, according to coptic writings in agnostic gospels. Those same gospels talk about a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth far beyond our comprehension. And even when such agnostic gospels talk about care and love between Mary Magdalene and Jesus, they still don’t give the full picture.

As a follower of Jesus, Mary Magdalene became the de facto leader for females. If Jesus was the male leader of the new wave of love, Mary Magdalene was the female leader. Because of so many “Marys” in the new testament, her life will be forever clouded or confused.

Mary Magdalene drawing. Copyright 2009 Miguel Omaña. Mary Magdalene drawing. Copyright 2009 Miguel Omaña.

Mexican girl in the barrio.

Unposed street photography I shot of a candid Mexican girl in northern Mexico City metro area.

Beautiful Mexican girl in the barrio. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña. Beautiful Mexican girl in the barrio. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

A girl who spoke her mind

Juana Ines de Asbaje y Ramirez de Santillana. Oil on wood. 9 x 11.

A girl who spoke her mind.

Text and artwork by Miguel Omaña.

Female poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (as we know her today) at 15 years of age (in the year 1666). Famous for her acidic remarks against men, relationships, and gender hurdles still affecting till our times.

A girl who spoke her mind in many languages.

Since a young girl she learned not only Spanish, the official language of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (what is today Mexico and Southwestern United States) but also the classic European languages and Nahuatl (the native language once spoken by the Mexica Aztecs). Perhaps knowing Nahuatl language made her so fascinated about poetry, since it’s a very metaphoric idiom. Her cleverness and keen interest in learning led her to be noticed by the Viceroy’s court in Mexico City.

Scholars were not so thrilled of having a sassy female teenager amonsgt them.

She left the Amecameca area where she grew up, in Panoayan plantation, and headed to the big city. Scholars of the viceroy’s court were not so thrilled to have a sassy female teenager in court just by merits of her intelligence. So she was forced (and probably she agreed to make them look bad) to take a test, plain and simple. Not anyone could enter such a world, academically and socially speaking. The most important scholars of the Americas were not going to give so easy, after all Harvard was just founded some decades ago, and Mexico City was the scholarly powerhouse. But she did pass the exam, actually aced it. Allegedly to celebrate a portrait of her was made, in which I based upon to make my own.

She lived a sumptuous life — but her life were books.

She was welcomed by the viceroys to live at the Viceroyal Palace (today Mexico’s National Palace). As part of the court, the Vicereine (wife of Viceroy) not only took her into her retinue but was delighted by her. For years she lived this sumptuous life in one of the most pompous courts of the world. But she was still not happy. Even when she was surrounded by luxury she wasn’t entirely immersed in books and writing. She truly adored studying, reading and writing. And as courtly politics in 17th century go, she was expected to marry as any fine New Spain upscale damsel would do.

A stern scholar, she became a nun just for the sake of continuing writing.

But she didn’t marry, giving birth to countless stories, theories and mere gossips. Stories will float, but what we know for sure, is that she was a stern scholar. So, in order to continue studying as she wished, she became a nun. Self-secluded in a convent was her perfect life to spend days and nights studying and writing tirelessly. And boy did she wrote! Now known as Sor Juana (her name that would live to posterity) she wrote plays, stories, and poems — many survived many more lost to us now. As sarcastic as she always was in her writings, she focused on females and their sufferings in many matters. One only has to read a stanza, or a writing left by her to realize in amazement what a great feminist she was ahead of her time. In a world way before Tumblr, her writings were not so known in her time (or were suppresed). Nonetheless she was famous, and her fame became as big as the controversies of her personal life.

Poetess, accomplished writer, feminist… and oh-so pretty.

The greatest poetess of the Spanish language in the world. The greatest female writer Mexico ever had. A feminist ahead of her time. So many titles. And knowing Sor Juana perhaps she wouldn’t be so fond of my last description, but she sure was indeed one of the most beautiful writers (and artist for that matter) in history.

Her legacy: An intelligent woman with something to say.

All her life she fought to gain a place for what she was, an intelligent woman with something to say. She dedicated her life for that goal. The fact that you’re reading this, and that now she is revered in the so-called macho-man dominated society of modern Mexico speaks volumes of her accomplishments. And still, many more should know about her legacy. Today she appears in the 200 Mexican pesos bill, and has statues erected all over the State of Mexico, her home state.

If you’re interested in young woman leaving a mark for their accomplishments, you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes

Juana Ines de Asbaje, also known as Sor Juana Ines. Copyright 2012 Miguel Omaña. Juana Ines de Asbaje, also known as Sor Juana Ines. Copyright 2012 Miguel Omaña.

Girls showcasing their bodypaint

Street photography I shot of nude girls showcasing their bodypaint in Mexico city, outside the Fine Arts Palace.

Self-censored version. For the original image visit my DeviantArt account.

Body paint is an art where the skin is used as a canvas.

Nude girls showcasing bodypaint. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña
Nude girls showcasing bodypaint. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña