Photographer Cuauhtémoc Suárez’s first pictures were of girls he crushed on, taken with his parent’s video camera. It wasn’t until 2008 when he got his first still camera that he started working as a photographer. Suarez, now 29, is from Monterrey, Mexico. Since his teenage crushes, he’s developed a vision that peers beyond the sexual surface levels of his photographs. Do his photos just indulge in teenage fantasy? Suárez says, “I think it’s easy to be distracted by lust and desire when you come across my photographs, but I’m trying to make it clear that a woman’s beauty is more complex than that.”
Both photographer and model communicate their immediate impressions through the photograph. The only difference is that we, the viewer, can only see what the photographer sees, not what the model does. Reading into the model’s glare is like reading into a mystery. When we look at a photograph, we just do that, look. When we look at the gaze reflecting back to us, we can interpret. Suarez’s choice to photograph one person over another is dictated by his own personal history. What draws him to a muse is always subject to shift.
“Right now,” he says, “I’m trying to connect with girls that possess an inherent drive to get what they want in life.” He loves working with women who know that being sexy does not always stem from sex. As a nude photographer he considers it his responsibility to share this more “accurate and mature” perspective of women.
There is nothing passive about holding a camera in your hands. It is aggressive, you yield a tool, possibly a weapon, that produces hard traces of humanity. Susan Bright writes, “literature can certainly (if it’s any good) conjure up the most pornographic imagination. But photographs dare to be ‘real.’ No matter how contrived or constructed they are, there’s that damn body staring you in the face.”
With all that said Suarez still relies on his work’s ability to, on occasion, make him feel like a teenager again.