First Generation American Stories

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Laura Olivas
Emilie McKittrick
Nov 12, 2019
Getty Images Art Director Emilie McKittrick knew Laura Olivas was the perfect contributor to create unique and intimate imagery. Laura has been capturing images of her family and friends since she bought her first camera off her brother‑in‑law at age fifteen. As a first‑generation American, she was fascinated by her parents’ stories of growing up in Mexico and “how they played out their roles as children in their families, as siblings and as friends to their friends”. This led to an interest in her own siblings’ experiences and how they each had a different perspective growing up in the same household.

“By listening to their stories I can get a better understanding as to why they are who they are. This helps me decide when to press the shutter and capture an authentic moment, one that represents them best,” says Laura.

As technology evolved, her style evolved with it and allowed her to shift from more staged images, in an effort to conserve film, to a freer, more candid approach with digital that helps her tell more authentic stories.

Her visual storytelling allows the viewer a window into an intimate Latinx experience that has been underrepresented in the marketplace. The inclusion of Laura’s imagery in the Nosotros Collection, an initiative that aims to reimagine the visual representation of the Latinx/Hispanic community within the North America media and advertising landscape, helps bring more visibility to real day‑to‑day life.

Receiving creative guidance from editors and specific briefs based on the content needs for the Nosotros collection has been, “a great experience,” says Laura. “We need to break the stereotypes for sure! I think it’s the perfect thing for me, a dream job if you will. I lacked direction. Now there is always something to create, it’s very exciting.”
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