Frank Thiel’s photographs explore a ubiquitous rite of passage for women in Havana
Frank Thiel’s newest photography series 15 [Quince] was shot over a two-year period throughout the fifteen municipalities of Havana. In this body of work, the photographer focuses on the first generation of millennials born in 2000 to celebrate their Quince, a ubiquitous rite of passage for young women in Latin American cultures.
Across most Latin communities, the Quince tradition recognises a Quinceañera’s transition from childhood to adulthood and is considered among life’s most important events. An essential element of the celebration is having professional photographs taken of the Quinceañera often in elaborate dresses and in fantasy settings.
With this project, Thiel recontextualised his young subjects; eschewing these hyper-stylised scenarios in which they are often depicted. He photographed them in their own neighbourhoods, in locations and settings atypical to traditional Quinceañera photography. The series reflects Thiel’s extensive research conducted throughout Cuba over a number of years.
Thiel and his Cuban team worked closely with the young women and their families to create a complex visual journey through Havana’s urban landscape, providing an intimate depiction of a city that is often idealised and romanticised.
Frank Thiel: 15 [Quince] runs until 17 March 2018 at Sean Kelly, New York. Discover more at www.skny.com.