Brenda Hernández Jaimes
It has always been vital for Díaz Martín to showcase certain aspects of life such as the Drag community in Mexico. He had always been curious to go in and see how it was all done. Yet at the time he didn’t know anyone who was part of the Drag Queen culture. That all changed when he met his current boyfriend, photographer Memo Hojas, who also does Drag under the name of Suculenta. Their wonderful collaboration began with Memo’s colorful aesthetic complementing Suculenta’s audacious vision. They’re able to produce images that are both imaginative and hyperreal. The fruits of such impacting images were able to build a bridge for Memo to connect with other Drag Queens who were captivated by his photographic style.
“I love it because I think they’re extremely creative people. I’m very excited to work with people that I admire and I think we connect our worlds very well,” he continues. “At least the ones I’ve worked with so far have been people that have taught me something. That’s important in photography, being able to work with people and learning from them. I’m the photographer and direct the session, but they also contribute a lot to the vision that I have.”
“She’s just beginning her transition. It’s not that drag led her to discover that she’s a trans person, but in the end, it connects a lot with who she is. It gives her that bridge to the person she wants to be,” he continues. “This is so authentic and courageous. Her courage also amazes me a lot because a Drag Queen walking on the street doesn’t go unnoticed. Just the fact of going out on the street like this is already aggression and transgression for many. Their strength of doing Drag, being who they want to be and not ask permission or approval inspires me.”
Inspiration has fueled Memo’s creative system and prompted a breakthrough in his photography. Never one for permitting an obstacle or lack of resources from stopping him to create his stories through photography, Memo now feels new ideas arise. For him the inspiration is inevitable and with open arms, he receives the constant imagery that Drag Queens produce.
“As a photographer, I think we tend to give ourselves obstacles for not starting on projects because we don’t have the fancy set. Then when you see the wonders they can do with a little paper, a piece of cloth and glue make you realize that anything is possible. The point is to have an idea and know how to execute it,” he says.
“What I’ve learned a lot from them is how they make works of art. I can’t say it’s not art! The way they put on makeup, change their features and their body. It’s not comfortable. I mean, using a belt that has a small waist with a man's body, you suffer too. But add all these challenges and being able to do it incredibly. It inspires me a lot. I love knowing them a little more closely, their stories, to know what they’re doing and where they want to take their drag character.”
“Be very brave. Beyond being a person of the LGBTTTIQ community or whatever you decide to identify as...I think the world will be difficult. It’s difficult for everybody even for people that we think have their life resolved. But I think that helping others opens doors for you and others,” he says.
“Always believe in your work even if it’s not so good, nobody was born as the great photographer. I discovered photography late into life. I discovered it at 21 and started doing it later. Even as a non-heterosexual person I got out at 25 that’s late because most of the people do it at 16 or 18. But it doesn’t matter, there’s always time but don’t just do nothing,” he says. “Keep working, help people and believe in yourself. Those three things seem fundamental to me always. When someone needs you if you can help people, do it. Don’t say, ‘well they’re not going to pay me’. Not everything is for money. it doesn’t have to be recompensed. There are things you can do to help others, for passion and because you like it. Photography isn’t about only having talent, it’s also about commitment to the people around you, to inspire others, to help others. If you only use your talent to earn money, it seems to me that you are also betraying it.”
Memo is true to his words and values. He isn’t one to keep his talent and vision to only produce money. He holds them high and helps other creatives in Mexico City to make their stories into reality through photos. His good energy has been a pivotal factor for being able to photograph many Drag Queens and helping their stories be seen.
“It sounds very optimistic, but we can all make a more friendly world and more beautiful for others. If you can use what life gave you and can use it in the arts then do it. Do it with courage, with humility and things will happen.”