Photographer Laura Aguilar, chronicler of the body and Chicano identity, dies at 58

Laura Aguilar (1959–2018) was a Mexican-American photographer whose work explored Chicanx, queer, and female-bodied identities. She was known for “chronicling the denizens of a working-class Eastside lesbian bar [Plush Pony] in the 1990s and for utilizing her nude body like sculpture in desert landscapes.”

“Inspired by the work of photographer Judy Dater, known for nude self-portraits in nature, Aguilar set out to do her own versions in expansive Southwestern landscapes—draping herself on rocks, curling herself into fetal positions and otherwise inserting her naked body into the landscape in ways both wry and alluring. She’d arrange her body and those of other women like ethereal props.”

“She is at once part of the American land, and the viewer’s eye, and apart from them,” Michelle Hart wrote of these images in the New Yorker late last year, “in her own words, both present and persistently unseen.”