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Spotlighting Jana Cantúa: Cultural Fashion Photographer On The Rise

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By Eleanora Morrison

When the COVID-19 pandemic first posed its dangerous threats to the U.S. several weeks ago and we began sheltering in place, I went straight to Instagram to begin searching for creative inspiration. I was looking for things I could share, people to spotlight, artists to support during this uncertain, unprecedented time.

I found Jana Cantúa’s work, and I fell in love immediately. I reached out through a direct message to her account, and within minutes we exchanged numbers and all of a sudden I had conducted an interview via text message, learning about Jana’s mission as an artist, her style, her inspirations, her origin story and her current cultural fashion editorial series highlighting Latin American women and the relationship with their heritage, Cariño.

Jana Cantúa is a Mexican photographer that uses creative color-blocking techniques to tell a photo narrative. Through the use of analog and digital photography, Cantúa explores the idea of accepting and loving one’s culture and origins. The mission of her work is to inspire others and give them a sense of self-acceptance. Her work showcases the talent, strength and beauty of her subjects. Her recent photo series Cariño uses fashion editorials to bring attention to the lack of representation (particularly of Latin Americans) in the fashion industry.

On her inspiration: I am inspired by color, flowers, bold fashion, Mariachi music, and conchas. Whether it’s the sea kind or the food kind.

On why she is drawn to San Antonio: The way San Antonio holds and embraces Mexican culture is what made me want to move here in the first place. I feel like I can not only be myself here, but I feel a deep sense of acceptance. 

On her personal style: My style evolves with my mood, but I would describe it as Frida Kahlo meets a pink cowgirl, if that makes any sense.

See Also

Jana Cantúa, in a recent self portrait.

Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.

Learn more about Jana Cantúa Photography and shop her prints at Connect with Cantúa on Instagram @janacantua

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