juan alonso


Digital Photography, Variable Dimensions, 2007-2011

The Project “Queens” is oriented towards breaking traditional stereotyped canons of women’s beauty which are considered as “unique” and “true” in events such as Beauty Contests, based mainly on youth, standard values for body proportions and measures as for facial characteristics. The Project also breaks away from the institutions that controls and sponsors such events, imposing labels, trademarks, commercial publicity, ostentation in attires, place of the event, and the like.

This Project starts out in an event called “National Contest for Third Age and Health” that takes place every year in November, at the town of Tibasosa, (Boyacá state). In this contest the youngest of the candidates is 60 years old; the parameters for the selection of the queen are based on physical condition, mental alertness, commitment to their communities, some artistic ability, and the message they convey to future generations. This is a popular event that takes place not in fancy hotels and jet set places, but all around the small town, with folk dances, a chariot parade, and a catwalk in the middle of the mains Square. The Contests is scheduled in the same dates of the National Beauty Contest in Cartagena, a contest that displays wealth and lushness, and marks a sharp contrast with the extreme poverty of the majority of the inhabitants of that region.

The projects seeks to play homage to these Queens, to show the pride they take on their beauty and their figure, and also seeks to contribute in the rescuing of the importance of events or spaces of popular culture, which are simply labeled as “Folklore”. A small studio was set at the Tibasosa Cultural Centre, and there pictures were taken of the Candidates by themselves, and of them along with their Escorts.

Part of this project was presented as an individual exhibit in “PHOTOLOGY 6. BOGOTÁ INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL 2008”, Exhibition Hall of the University of Salamanca Cultural Centre in Bogotá.