Category Archives: Portrait

Family at the Mexican border

Photo I shot at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

While interviewing him, this man worked on construction structures. These structures hold cement columns, and also seem to hold the survival of this family.

After giving me permission to take portraits of him working and of his son, he explained the hardships of living in such conditions. This place was (and still is) at the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo.

Nuevo Laredo is considered an international trade hub, where goods and people pass through from the US into Mexico and vice-versa. Because of its strategic position it has attracted the best riches can get and the worst poverty can summon. This the dark side of this city and the whole of the US-Mexico border. A couple of miles from this place the United States begin.

When I presented this at my university in the American side, they were baffled and even incredulous that such scenes could exist on the other side of the river where they live, work and sleep.

If you’re interested in Mexico and inequality you should look into my novel, Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Family at Mexican border. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña.
Family at Mexican border. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña.
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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.

Mexican girl painted portrait

One of the commissions I worked on last weekend.

Oil on white cardboard, 9 x 10.


If you’re interested in a painted portrait, please contact me for prices and Shipping and Handling info.


I try to bring realism to the painted portraits, but also imprint a part of how I look at people. Like in this case, they tend to commission me these portraits as gifts or mementos. And yet, if I do a photograph-like painting, it would be best if they just put the original photo.

That’s my take on doing this sort of portraits — make it look realistic and yet have the feel you’re looking at a piece of art. Don’t get me wrong, I admire hyper realist artists, it is a feat of creativity what they do. Then again, people want to have a more artsy portrait on their hands. At least that’s what I have sensed and heard from my clients.

What I love is when they give me Carte Blanche, and literally ask me to do it as I would a personal portrait for me.

Mexican girl painted portrait. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Mexican girl painted portrait. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Painting of Norse Goddess Freyja

Portrait I did of Viking goddess Freyja.
Freyja. Oil on wood, 9 x 11.
She is the goddess of love, beauty, sex, death, war, and seiðr (sorcery); leader of the Valkyries.
She is one of the ancient gods of the European indigenous peoples, the Vanir, that after the war against the new gods were defeated, and Freyja survived. Perhaps Freyja could very well be the Great Goddess adored in Eurasia (before there was no God but Goddess).
After the war, Odin acceded to divide the dead in war, therefore half the souls go to her at Fólkvangr and the other half to Odin at Valhalla.
The day Friday is named in her honor.
She possesses the magic necklace Brísingamen forged by the dwarves with amber and precious stones, but to earn the Brisingamen she had to sleep with everyone of the four dwarves. Once the test was passed the necklace gave her great power. Though Loki stole in for a time. Freyja also owns a falcon cape, her symbol.
Based on Jennie from instagram @ohapieceofcandy @jenniepersson_ Go follow her!

If you’re interested in ancient history you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

All might Viking goddess Freyja. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
All might Viking goddess Freyja. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mexican girl dancing at gas station.

Photo I shot as part of documenting trades of Nuevo Laredo.

In the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border there’s a niche for young girls as dancers at gas stations or convenience stores. Usually known as edecanes, these girls usually work during weekends. Just before the sun sets one can see them getting ready with their huge speakers and strident music.

Many dancers represent a certain brand, beverage, or beer, although generally they are present to pull customers to that particular convenience store. Does it work? Who knows, because people have to go to convenience stores anyway — don’t they?

This culture of girls dancing in the streets with few clothes — literally — does not exist in Central Mexico or Mexico City. Habits and way of seeing things do change from region to region here in Mexico (just like the American South is so different from say, the West Coast).

Mexican girl dancing at gas station. Copyright 2013. Miguel Omaña. Mexican girl dancing at gas station. Copyright 2013. Miguel Omaña.