PHOTOGRAPHERS TO KNOW: MYRIAH ACOSTA
Mexican-American analog photographer representing a wide range of women of color through her work in response to the conventional Eurocentric features that dominate mainstream media. Through vibrant lighting and vintage themes, Myriah is effortlessly mastering a style of her own.
SHEER: Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
MYRIAH ACOSTA: I am from The Rio Grande Valley and reside in McAllen, which is a bordertown located at the southern tip of Texas.
SHEER: In what way does your culture and upbringing influence your work?
MA: It’s difficult to pursue a creative career when being surrounded by the opinions of traditional Mexican family members and peers who believe it won’t get you anywhere in life. It makes me push harder to be successful in what I do. I am also thankful to be in an area that allows me to meet POC who will model for me and together we get to bring something to the media that isn’t generic or conventional european features.
SHEER: Did you originally start out with film photography or did that interest grow over time?
I began with a simple Canon Rebel digital camera at the age of 15 and was gifted a Yashica film camera not too long after that. I’d use both at local events/concerts. I quickly grew fonder of my film camera and was naturally able to control how those images came out over my digital. I sold the Canon right after this realization.
SHEER: What inspires the themes, settings, and mood of your work?
MA: 80’s interior decor, neon lighting, dreams, and mother nature herself.
SHEER: What would you say is the greatest challenge with film photography?
MA: Not being able to see the images instantly can be quite scary. I am always nervous as to how the lighting might come out and if the images will be over or underexposed.
SHEER: How do you pick the models in your work?
MA: Usually through instagram DM’s is how I get a lot of models who are willing to work with me. I am fortunate they usually come to me.
SHEER: Your photographs have a unique style of rich jewel colors with a vintage feel. Is this calculated or something that developed naturally over time?
MA: I think as time has passed, I have been able to cultivate a style that is unique to myself. I wouldn’t want to create anything I’d think is bland so I always ask myself what I could do to make something more ethereal, colorful, and unique.
SHEER: Are there any specific photographers who have influenced your style?
MA: I’m a fan of photographers Charlotte Rutherford, Lissyelle Laricchia, and Lula Hyers.
SHEER: What is some advice you would like to share for women of color looking to pursue photography?
MA: Remember that fancy equipment isn’t needed to sell your vision, start off with friends willing to model for you in order to build up your portfolio. Always remember that there is never ending room to improve and polish up your style - aim for every photoshoot to be better than the last !