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Photographing an Aztec Dancer for a floor-to-ceiling Wall Graphic.

My name is Melissa Toledo and I’m a Photographer in Portland, OR. One of my favorite shoots ever was this past July in Forest Grove, OR, and featured an Aztec Dancer named Maria.

Some background: On February 7, 2020, I received an email from Anna Yeager, the Marketing Manager at Adelante Mujeres. She said they were seeking a Latina photographer to capture images for their upcoming cultural art exhibit, "Migration is Beautiful", and invited me to collaborate with them. I said yes!

For my part in the exhibit, I photographed and coordinated three different photo projects. The first task was to create a very large and striking floor-to-ceiling Wall Graphic image of an Aztec dancer for their lobby that would be viewable from the sidewalk. The second part was the creation of a 8-piece photographic series featuring local eight Latina community members. The third was the creation of an 8-foot-wide "Future" Photograph. For this we photographed a young Latina sitting atop majestic rocks overlooking turbulent waves.

This exhibit was made possible with funding from Metro and the Oregon Cultural Trust, and created and hosted by Adelante Mujeres.

The full series of portraits and stories can be visited in person at the Adelante Mujeres building at 2030 Main St, Forest Grove, Oregon.,

"We are taking a photo for a wall graphic.

And we have an Aztec Dancer.

You’re going to see it when you’re walking outside the building and you're gonna stop.

We want people to come.

And we want people to see it.

And we want them to be inspired by this larger than life inspirational beautiful reina (queen). "

- Melissa Toledo, Photographer


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