Growing up as a young queer Latina female in the Bay Area, Tragik believed she had to stand up to be visible and accepted. Working with a non-profit org. in San Francisco (Women’s Freedom Center) in high school, through a program with other young, poor, queer women of color impacted by the criminal justice system, she was placed in her first dark room to learn photography. Her first project at 17 was documenting her friends who wanted to take portraits to send to their boyfriends in prison. Through this experience, Tragik learned how photography helped her friends feel beautiful, safe, confident, empowered and important. Over a decade later this still translates into her work, shooting primarily women, queer people and POC, capturing their brilliance and creating a sense of vulnerability and safety with her subjects.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Raised in the Bay Area (California) and I’ve been in Los Angeles the past 6 years.
What is your voice in the gay and lesbian community?
I’ve always been an activist before being an artist, although I feel that art and activism go hand in hand. I believe if you have any sort of platform regardless of your background, it’s very important to put truth in your art. For me it’s also just as important to put out love, positivity and freedom through my music and art. I’ve always been very exposed and have never hid who I was, even though it might have hurt me in the past, I regret nothing. I know how hard it is for other queer people in this world to be who they are fully, in their environments, let alone create art to share with the world without judgement. I have always stood up for all disenfranchised communities, including the gay and lesbian community. One day I hope our world will become free of ignorance and bigotry, until then I will continue to put out art to push boundaries and create dialogue.
When and why did you start producing music?
I’ve always been surrounded by music of all kinds. My step father was in an Afro Cuban Salsa Band growing up, so I spent the majority of my child hood in the back of bars and clubs. He also taught me how to play trumpet. In my house, they were always listening to George Clinton, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sade, Celia Cruz, Nina Simone and so many other radical artists that eventually helped shape my musical taste. I started officially making music with an incredible Grammy nominated producer from San Francisco (Stylo) about 7 years ago. He definitely helped birth the ideas in my head, we make everything from R&B to Melodic 90’s HOUSE Music. Heartbreak was one of our main inspirations for the first couple of songs we created. We have an EP coming out in the next couple of months which I’m excited to release, and create more visuals for. About 4 years ago, Native Instruments sponsored me with a Traktor S2 and it pushed me to get into the world of DJing, which I find beautiful and therapeutic. To be able to share your emotions and mood with the world through your mixes. To create memories and frozen moments DJing in the back of dark lit clubs with crowds of people dancing in slow motion, smiling, screaming, making love to whatever you play. That feeling is incredible.
How do you mix music with your photography?
I think music and photography go hand in hand. As photography does with video, music plays a huge part in the videos I create but it all starts with a still image. Motion gives that still image life, but music gives it feeling. I got into photography almost 10 years ago, just shooting my friends having fun. Documenting protests and events. I wanted my friends to feel beautiful about themselves, to see what I saw. Eventually that turned into shooting strangers. There’s just something about the connection you create with someone when you see them smile and light up the room. I try to think of how to shoot them in the most unrealistic way, bringing illusion into reality. It’s also very important to set a mood, I’m almost always playing music while shooting.
Photoshoot with Sav Noir – a brand, image and attitude – was bred of the untamed life that manifests well after the sun has set. Dark and chic aesthetic geared toward the matured, rebellious souls of our era. The ones whom fear nothing, or no one. Inspired by the euro-goth scene of the early 1980’s, Sav-Noir has become a sub-culture of it’s own. Their community has evolved into a culmination of age groups, genders, and personalities. The presences of this generation, which confidently represent the alternative world. http://savnoir.com/
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
People are too afraid of the word “Dark”. The connotation that “Dark” is some how evil or ugly, is wrong. Dark is beautiful, mysterious, filled with acceptance and power. I love to capture the unconventional, where beauty bleeds in dark corners.