Ramon Sandoval Exhibit Explores Taboos and Identities


Created: 12 June, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022

By Mario A. Cortez

Ramon Sandoval

Portraits of Latinx folk expressing themselves are currently being displayed at San Diego LGBT Pride’s central office as part of an exhibit which looks to highlight cultural diversity in the community and personalities which are often hidden.

Comprised of 13 pictures, the exhibit “Taboo Reframed” by local photographer Ramon Sandoval looks to depict social and personal traits which may not be obvious on first impression. This collection depicts Latinx individuals who are involved with the LGBT community and support sexual diversity, although they themselves may not identify as LGBT. Each portrait acts as a study of each subject in which their attire, estimated age, time of day, and expected social roles all play a part.

“This is like telling a story,” said Sandoval. “We have among our models an 18 year old girl, a young zapatista man who is 29, a woman over 60, and another older woman.”

Sandoval said completing the project, from initial idea to final framing, took about three months, during which the project saw a number of changes in direction and concept.

“The original idea was to show the body as is, because displaying the body is a taboo, so it was going to be all nudes; all photographs were going to show body parts and it turned out to be too graphic for this space,” Sandoval told La Prensa San Diego.

“So we took up the idea of exploring taboo in another way, through identities which we must often silence for acceptance,” he continued.

Psychology and interpretation play a central role in this exhibit, as each still looks to bring out things which cannot be seen at plain sight. Pointing to a pair of images of an older woman wearing indigenous Mexican garb, Sandoval explained that this person is a resident of Normal Heights who does not always dress in such way, only for truly significant occasions. However, the portrait manages to capture pride in her heritage, her strength as a person, and an innate sense of happiness.

Looking over the rest of the images in this exhibit, one can appreciate visuals which explore ideas such as loneliness, youth imposed over maturity, and self esteem and its conjugation with sexuality, among other concepts.

Sandoval received the invitation to exhibit his work at San Diego LGBT Pride’s offices after collaborating with the organization on exhibits and on his Dia de los Muertos altars, which have been set up in Old Town and North Park in previous years.

“Taboo Reframed” will be on exhibit through the end of June.