Ruth Prieto

Photographer
  
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Location: Mexico city / Berlin
Nationality: Mexican
Biography: Ruth was borned and raised in Mexico city where she studied Communications. She moved to New York city to pursue her studies in Photography. She did an internship in the cultural research department at Magnum photos. She graduated from the... read on
Public Story
Safe Heaven
Credits: ruth prieto arenas
Updated: 05/09/19
Location: New York City

Save Heaven (short version)

Safe Heaven is a photographic series about the life of immigrant women in New York.
I started this journey in restaurant at the Spanish Harlem where some of these women work
and then followed them to their homes. Through these images I want to approach their
notion of home, intimacy, space and freedom. This project is organized through colors that
correspond to a story, a woman, a place of origin and a house.
Safe Heaven is an intepretation of inmigration using color as a metaphor of diversity. It’s an
extraordinary window to the life of Mexican women where they can be masters of their own
world, where they can control their time and their choices, where they have a Safe Heaven.

Safe Heaven (long version)

Between intense red and green walls, Delia hangs next to a big loud jukebox where along with the sounds of the latest Latino hits, a well-known piece is about to be danced, a flirting routine that starts with a smile and ends when solitude is alleviated.

Delia who is 18 years old forms part of the working crew of  a restaurant located in  New York where the waitresses´ job is not only to provide a menu but also to keep company to the lonely customers. In this ritual, the male customer invites the waitress to join him at the table by getting a drink for her, and the momentary couple will converse, laugh, and in some cases become intimate. Her presence at the table will last until the drink is finished or she is required at another table, where the same cycle will be repeated. 

The first part of this work is called "Red: Panteras Negras". It is focused on young Mexican women who have recently arrived to United States.  Some of them have indigenous backgrounds so that Spanish is not their first language. The majority of waitresses have grown up in environments of limited education and health services.  Like Delia, most of them have come to the United States looking for a better quality of life and money to send to their families back home.

Sharing similar cultural and economic backgrounds with their clients, these women live a staged rendezvous every night. They share in an encounter where confidence is the secret ally that mitigates the pain of longing for an abandoned place or the absence of a loved one. But what happens when they go home? What is their place of comfort and confidence? 

The second part of this work of Safe Heaven is a view inside their homes and their life.

The second part of this work is developed inside the homes of these women. Homes have deep emotional meaning. Through their homes we get to know them, their motivations, their thoughts and aspirations along with the conditions they live in revealing how much they have achieved and struggled. They have painted and decorated their rooms according to their own personal story and choice.  Through these images I want to approach thenotion of home, intimacy, space and freedom. This project is organized through colors that correspond to a story, a woman, a place of origin and a house.

Safe Heaven is an intepretation of inmigration using color as a metaphor of diversity. It’s an
extraordinary window to the life of Mexican women where they can be masters of their own
world, where they can control their time and their choices, where they have a Safe Heaven.


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