Samantha Cabrera Friend is a visual artist from Chicago who uses photography, writing, installation and public research to explore local histories, traditions, and sociopolitical issues affecting female-based communities on a global scale. She is a graduate from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and is the founder of Quinceañera Archives—a visual repository which fosters public dialogues and community-driven research around the historical importance of one’s lived experience.

With a methodology based in historical and ethnographic research, Samantha focuses on producing original narratives and long form reporting. She is also a member of The Visual Desk—a Chicago based editorial support group for visual journalists interested in a more inclusive approach to serve communities they engage in. Working at the intersection of  journalistic, academic, and fine art spheres, she develops community projects in recognition of an integral thread of local histories and believes in the necessary practice of civic engagement. 

Her imagery features past commissions with National Geographic, VICE, and The New Yorker amongst others; centering on communities accessed by her lived experience and strengthened by historic pinnacles drawn through extensive, independent research. Samantha’s practice has led to collaborations with local museums, publications and educational institutions throughout México, Argentina and the United States. In all projects today, she continues to work towards illuminating new paths of research and community around utilizing creative mediums to rewrite one’s narrative history.

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