Meet Thalia Gochez
The artist celebrating Latinx identity.
In her latest project, with Nike and Girlgaze, Los Angeles-based photographer Thalia Gochez highlights unsung heroes igniting positive change in their local community. The daughter of Salvadorian and Mexican immigrants, Thalia has created a platform for women of color to be represented the way that they should be. Her photographs are genuine depictions of women taken in their communities offering space for conversation and self-representation.
We chatted with Thalia about the importance of representation, where she draws inspiration from and learnings from her latest project.
Give us a little overview of what you do and how you got started shooting.
I am a film photographer, creative director, and fashion stylist. I started shooting a couple years ago, around when Trump got elected. I used my creativity and need for expression to cope with the political climate but also for fun! I started shooting my friends in their communities. I saw the beauty within their neighborhood and wanted to highlight it in a positive way. It started off simple— I wanted to shoot folx that looked like me and I connected with on a cultural and ancestral level.
Where/who do you draw inspiration from in your art?
My childhood and culture, my dreams, current emotions, Mexico, El Salvador, corner stores, old film photos of my family, dollar stores, street vendors, flea markets, folx on public transportation, people of color, natural lighting, mundane interactions on the street—the list goes on. Inspiration is a daily exploration and ever changing but a common thread throughout the list is authenticity. I am inspired by authentic living.
Talk to us about representation. Why is this something you choose to focus on through your art?
When I was in fashion school I hardly saw any representation of my narrative, culture and identity and I wanted to start creating content I connected to! I want to give the next generation of brown kids something to connect to and get inspired by—I see my work as a cultural archive.
“I want to give the next generation of brown kids something to connect to and get inspired by—I see my work as a cultural archive.”
How would you say your photography is a form of activism?
My art is just expressing my experience and the people I love. My goal wasn’t to be an activist—I’m just learning how to navigate and exist in these institutions that weren’t built for people like me to succeed. I do that by highlighting and holding a safe space to the best of ability through my art for my friends and people of color in the community.
I’m not afraid to speak and bring awareness to issues that directly affect marginalized communities. However, I know my limitations as a lighter skin Latinx and very mindful of the space I take up. I want my contributions to the community to be an equal exchange, and never exploitive or performative. I am here for real interaction, real healing, real solutions, positive impact. There’s so much I have yet to learn and I’m constantly learning how I can be a better ally to all intersectionalities.
“I’m just learning how to navigate and exist in these institutions that weren’t built for people like me to succeed. I do that by highlighting and holding a safe space to the best of ability through my art for my friends and people of color in the community.”
Tell us about your latest project.
I just finished working on my first campaign with Nike x Girlgaze! We highlighted unsung heroes igniting positive change in their local community—a perfect fit for me. It was an incredible experience with a steep learning curve. I’ve never experienced that level of production and although the attention is nice—the most rewarding part of it all was overcoming the mental burden of not being “good enough.”
I learned that I have to have the courage to constantly challenge myself and what I think I can do creatively in order for me to grow into the womxn I know I’m destined to be.
What’s your positive message?
Don’t be afraid to walk in your truth even if it makes others uncomfortable. It is your birthright to explore and express your emotional and creative experience.