Mateo Arciniegas portraying her mother in New York, ‘Nuestra Nueva York’
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«As my mother is getting older, I try to solidify memories with her» – Mateo Arciniegas’ intimate trip

«‘Nuestra Nueva York’ is a visual recollection of our past and serves as a physical memory of what has been our story in New York» Mateo Arciniegas for Lampoon

 Nuestra Nueva York / Mateo Arciniegas

What was your idea for the shoot?

 My mother has always been part of my work. Our relationship is very close. It has gotten stronger and stronger throughout the years, so it was just natural to have her as the subject of this shoot. The idea for the shoot started from an interest in telling our story in New York with images. We have been in the city on and off for 10 years. We both have lived in different neighborhoods and experienced different sides of what the city is. I was interested in revisiting many of the locations that were part of our every day at different stages in our lives, such as Elmhurst/Jackson Heights, Queens, the first neighborhood we called home. Midtown Manhattan, part of my mom’s everyday working routine for 8 years, and Bushwick in Brooklyn, where I live. Nuestra Nueva York (Our New York) is a visual recollection of our past and serves as a physical memory of what has been our story in New York. As my mother is getting older, I’m very interested in solidifying these memories with her. This shoot has served as a tool to do so.

How did you approach it?

 The shoot had a personal and straightforward approach. The first thing was to make my mom feel comfortable. The environment and the clothing she was wearing play a significant role. The shoot was just her and me, and we went to all these places in New York in 2 days. We walked around, had food, and enjoyed mother and son day. I wanted her to feel like a typical day out with me where she happens to be styled in a very relaxed manner. 

What was the inspiration and how did you convey it through the images?

 The inspiration for the shoot came about from conversations with my mother over the last year, we have grown closer, and our relationship improves as we both grow older. Our discussions have been getting relatively deeper, self-reflecting, and critical of our journey in the United States for the past 11 years. Based on all these conversations, I started cultivating this idea of making them more tangible and concrete. The way to convey them was a visual recollection of my mother portrayed in various locations of New York that gave the body to our life in this city.

What is your photographic style and how did you go about shooting this photoshoot?

My photographic style is guided and influenced by my life, from personal experiences, family, cultural identity, and a strong need to understand the concepts of memory, the passage of time, and longing for home. I have a deep interest in people throughout portraiture, and the direct impact of space and its usage in every individual’s experiences, particularly the effect of emptiness and distance. My work is informed by the mix of portraiture, space and their relation to memory and feelings.

Mateo Arciniegas

Arciniegas (1993, Bogotá, Colombia) is a Brooklyn-based photographer. In 2020 his first solo exhibition Olvido pa’ Recordar, debuted at Miriam Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Arciniegas was shortlisted for Helsinki Photo Festival (2021), Descubrimientos PHE (Photo España) 2020, and has exhibited in group shows in New York and Bogotá. As a commemoration of the Colombian peace process in 2019, Arciniegas exhibited work at the Colombian Senate.

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