A Photographic Celebreation

This is for La Raza!

Latino is often used as a blanket term to describe folks like me. Yet, those who belong to the Latin community are as diverse as the food that we eat and the cultures that we come from. We are not all Mexican, our tamales and tacos are each different, and we come in many shades of brown. We are rich and beautiful, and we defy common stereotypes that are all too often presented in media about us.

My next project, “¡Soy Yo!” is a photographic celebration of the diverse people and groups that make up Latin(x,e,a,o). It elevates the way we are presented in media and highlights what makes us unique. If you have ever checked the box, Hispanic/Latino then this project is for and about YOU!!

With support from Regional Arts & Culture Council, R3C grant, Heathman Hotel, The Armory Portland Center Stage, and Open Signal. In January, I will photograph and interview up to 60 different groups/people from the Hispanic community at the historic Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland. This invitation is open to families, individuals, groups of friends and colleagues. Any age, background, ability, identity welcome.

Let’s show Portland just how broad our community is here.

**¡Los hispanohablantes son bienvenidos! Todos los materiales estarán en inglés y español y habrá un hablante nativo de español que asistirá con la experiencia.

La visión

We Are So Diverse

We go by so many different names, Hispanic, Latino, Chicana, Boricua, just to name a few. And each of us are as unique as the culture we come from, but why do we see so little of that diversity reflected in media? 'Soy Yo' is about celebrating these individual identities while showcasing us in a way we don't often see associated with Latinos in media.

Elevate the Way We're Seen

To see yourself reflected in the world can inspire powerful actions. When I look at images of the Hispanic community we are often shown in urban streets, in our homes, or working and while there is nothing wrong with those settings, I also want to see us elevated beyond that. To see ourselves in places that are luxurious, and elegant. It is with this in mind I am partnering with the Heathman Hotel as the prime location for this project to take place.

Celebrate our Presence in PDX

According to the 2020 census, there were approximately 60,000 people of Hispanic or Latino origin living in Portland. We make up more than 10% of the population here and continue to defy common stereotypes! We are a community of entrepreneurs, creatives, business owners, and professionals. We have created communities, organizations, and non-profits that support one another and bring us together. ¡Soy Yo! is about celebrating that!

Bring Our Community TOGETHER

The invitation to participate is open to ANYONE who has ever checked the Hispanic/Latino box on a form. It is FREE to participate and all ages, backgrounds, styles, abilities, and identities are welcome. This is about celebrating those we don't often see in media. There is no limit to how many groups a person may be in, they could do a solo set, then one with their family, and again with a group of friends.

Express your authentic self

Participants are encouraged to wear what makes them feel their best. All styles of dress are welcome from casual or traditional to business and formal. This project is about seeing ourselves authentically reflected in media, and that is different for each person. Come how you want to be seen and how you feel the most confident. There is no expected look, express your authentic self.

A Collective Message

Each set is invited to create and share a message about identity, the importance of representation, their background, or whatever they feel connects to ¡Soy Yo! These messages will be recorded during the session and shared via Open Signal in a short film. These messages and will also be used as quotes to accompany the exhibition at the PGE Gallery in March.

¿Tienes alguna pregunta?

When will the sessions take place?

Sessions will be available over the course of 4 days.

Saturday 1/20 : 10am - 4pm
Sunday 1/21 : 12pm - 6pm
Tuesday 1/23 : 10am - 4pm
Thursday 1/25 : 1pm-7pm

Where will the sessions take place?

Sessions booked on Saturday 1/20 will take place in the penthouse.

Sessions booked on Sunday 1/21 will take place in the conference room.

Sessions booked on Tuesday 1/23 will take place in the main space near the fireplace.

Sessions booked on Thursday 1/25 will take place in an area in the restaurant.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is NO COST to participate, all of the photo sessions are FREE. The images will be shared with participants online via an online gallery where prints may be purchased, but there is NO OBLIGATION or expectation for individuals to make a purchase.

All print proceeds go towards the continuation and expansion of this project.

Will participants get to see the images before the show?

YES!! The photos will be shared no later than a week after the session and participants are encouraged to select their favorite image to be considered for the multi-image collages that will be displayed in March.

Is there a dress code?

Nope! The only expectation is that participants show up feeling their best. If that is in street wear, great! If that is in formal wear, awesome! If that is in traditional garments, fantastic! This about being able to see ourselves celebrated in media, how you want to see yourself is up to you.

How many people can be in a group?

Groups can vary from 2 to 8+ depending on the space. Large groups of 8 or more would be ideal for Sunday 1/21 in the conference room space.

Created with the support of...

ARTS3C Grant Support

With the support from RACC's Arts3C grant, "¡Soy Yo!" will be bilingual and accessible and will be ready to be shared with the Portland community in March 2024

Heathman Hotel

The project will be photographed at this historic hotel in Portland over the course of 4 days. Each day will feature a different area of the iconic hotel.

The Armory

See the completed project at the PGE Gallery at Portland Center Stage at The Armory, March 6th-April 7th, 2024.

OPen Signal

¡Soy Yo! goes beyond photos. The project will create a short film that includes messages from the participants about their identity, the culture, and /or anything they would like to share connecting to the project.

Por Que Soy Yo?

We all deserve to see ourselves reflected and celebrated in the world, in media. I'm a strong believer in the power that words have and ¡Soy Yo! translates to, This is Me. It is unapologetic and applies to anyone and everyone regardless of gender, background, or ability. It's a proud statement and we are proud people.

In the end, the photos and the project should be something that everyone involved is proud of and that reflects how we, the Hispanic community, see ourselves. There is no expected look, style, or participant because there is no one way that we are. I don't fit into a box, and neither does the community I come from.

Photo By Mario Gallucci

Connect & Support

Still have questions about the project, or perhaps your mind is bubbling with ideas you'd like to share. I'd love to connect with you. Reach out using the form or by clicking the participation link.

Not Latino, but you'd still like to support? Consider donating to the project. Every little bit helps to produce and share this work.

Donate to the project:


Cash App: $MMartinezPhoto

Venmo: @MMartinezPhoto


M.MartinezPhoto / MMartinezPhoto