Mayan Toledano: No Mames
Dreamy, intimate portraits of the LGBTQ creatives energizing Mexico City’s art and design culture
Through her reportage, fashion and portrait work, Israeli Moroccan photographer Mayan Toledano shares the stories of her queer community, exploring their interior lives with empathy and respect. Characterized by their colorful dreaminess, her portraits often capture her young subjects in their bedrooms.
Although Toledano is based in New York, she has found herself increasingly drawn to Mexico City, a place she considers a creative safe haven. No Mames pays tribute to the local LGBTQ artists, designers and creatives who are currently contributing to Mexican culture—many of whom are couples, roommates or childhood friends. The series’ portraiture follows a twofold process: first, she captures her subjects as they present themselves in everyday life; then, she photographs them as they would like to appear, facilitating the construction of their fantasy selves. This collaborative act of wish fulfilment sometimes coincides with real-life transformations: for instance, she follows one of her subjects, Havi, over the course of her gender transition, during which she underwent breast augmentation surgery.
From reportage to fashion to portraiture, the work of photographer Mayan Toledano is characterized by a strong sense of humanity, empathy, femininity and rebellion. Whether created in New York City or Mexico City, Toledano’s photography often concerns the interior lives of young people—existences that notably revolve around the bedroom. "Your bedroom is the first place that is your own and private, and it’s your first place to be creative," Toledano has written. "There’s something really vulnerable about letting people into your space and we created these personal images of people being and becoming an authentic version of themselves, all done in collaboration." Toledano’s work has been featured in i-D, Vogue, W Magazine, Teen Vogue, Them and the New York Times, among other publications.