23 Hours With 23 Year-Old Tejana Photographer Itzel Alejandra Martínez

Itzel Alejandra Martinez is a 23 year-old multimedia artist and photojournalist with roots in Mexico. As an artist, her fresh perspective is informed by the everyday mosaic of US and Latino cultures she encountered growing up on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, TX. It’s a blend that has only been magnified and transformed by the internet. Like most 20-somethings creators, technology has become a central part of her artistic process – from finding inspiration online, to shooting on the fly with her phone (the photos above were all taken on a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+), to sharing her work online.

Now living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Itzel’s photo-diary above is a day in the life that threads together immigrant cultures from TX to NYC, through the fresh eyes of a self-professed callejera.

Below, learn a little more about what inspires her, and check out more on her website here, and at Colectiva Cósmica, the feminist Chicana art collective she belongs to.


What inspires you as a photographer?
My friends, family, what we do, what we eat, what we listen to, our cliches, struggles, and joys. The internet has also inspired me a lot, to see young photographers and creatives building a platform for themselves is beautiful, all via a social media network that is rooted in connecting and inspiring each other.

What are you trying to capture in your photos? What do you want viewers to take away from your work?
I seek to document my personal and social reality with saturation and hue. Through my photos I try to capture exactly where I am right now. I want viewers to understand my world. I am not interested in portraying anything other than that. Soy una callejera, my world is conscious, feminine, tech savvy, spiritual, book smart, nostalgic and filled with contradictions.

What draws you to street photography? What makes it memorable?
Great street photography in my opinion keeps it real and is focused on the unseen. Capturing those moments and details that often go overlooked are what makes any documentary photography memorable.

Are there any threads that connect El Paso – Austin – Sunset Park?
Yes! All these locations are places where I have lived, worked and hold a special place in my heart. They are all heavily influenced by Latin culture and way of life– with local zumba spots, amazing tacos, hard working people, cumbia and salsa, puestitos (the original food trucks), and a DIY mentality.