My name is Ana Paula Fuentes, and I am a cultural photographer and social designer from Mexico City living in legendary Oaxaca for 17 years.
I specialize in Mexican culture and traditions, as I believe the majority of people desire to experience Mexico authentically and colourfully. Therefore, I have been wrapped and tangled in the world of textiles, travel, organizing, and outreach for most of my professional career.
I use my creativity, passion and eye for photography to tell stories that exhibit both beauty and truth, and I weave connections between foreign partners and locals that place a non-negotiable emphasis on culturally sensitivity and respect.
I specialize in photographing colours, patterns, textures, lights, people, places, and the artisans that I work with whom I have close relationships.
Since the age of 8 and due to my dad´s job in a textile company, I used to love textiles, fibers and colors and I remember spending hours playing with threads and fabric samples to “weave” collages and patchworks. Another of my passions is to travel, to discover new places, to learn about other cultures and ways of life. To walk cities and towns, to walk in the nature and of course to capture all these visual and emotional experiences with my camera. I´ve been a cultural guide for the last 10 years and what I love about this job is to share my love for Mexico, its culture and traditions and to make people live a memorable experience and fall in love with my country.
In the year 1998 I graduated from Textil Design and then moved to Barcelona in Spain to study a postgraduate degree in Knitwear Fashion Design. In 2005 I moved to Oaxaca where I founded and directed the Museo Textil de Oaxaca...and then a longing for broader experience and further diverse cultural immersion led to five months traveling solo throughout India. This experience led me to study a Certificate in Social Design Entrepreneurship at Pratt Institute in NYC and then to worked for the Mexican non-profit association El Camino de Los Altos, formed by Maya weavers and French designers, developing promotion and marketing. I also developed a marketing and promotion plan, and served as community liaison & social designer for the cooperative La Flor de Xochistlahuaca, formed by 35 Amuzgo weavers, and La Sanjuaneras, formed by 20 Mixtec weavers, and currently for a group of 21 Zapotec weavers from San Bartolo Yautepec, Oaxaca, in three projects funded by the Rubin Foundation and in collaboration with the textile designer and contemporary artist Maddalena Forcella. I was the Executive Director of CADA Foundation, a non-profit organization interested in and worried about the future cultural patrimony, local identity and value; researching and documenting artisanal communities and working as real partners to develop products that compete while incorporating the culture and skills of the community.
For the last two years I’ve been working as a cultural guide and facilitator for ONCE Journeys for Women & Cosa Buena and independently for the last six years as a consultant and facilitator to connect educational institutions (British Council Mexico, Goethe-Institut Mexiko, Universidad CENTRO, Universidad Iberoamericana, Universidad Anáhuac, Tecnológico de Monterrey, etc.), companies (MANGO), textile design brands, designers, etc. with artisans and their communities, using the same Social Design methodology that I have implemented in all my past projects.