Kevin Serna (b.1989) is a photographer based in Chicago, IL. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Photography in 2012 from Columbia College Chicago. Kevin’s photographs draw strength from the conversation of color and gesture. His work has focused on matters of globalization and family on an intimate scale, as well as a deep regard for portraiture. In addition to using his camera as a means of analysis, Kevin has also pushed to use his camera as a method for creating authentic connection for himself to his subject, be it a place, a stranger, his father or himself. For this reason, photography has revealed itself in Kevin’s practice to be a tool for personal empathy and revelation. Currently, Kevin is in the process of creating his first self published book from his series entitled la presa.
Growing up in a predominantly white suburban town outside of Chicago, Kevin always sensed a cultural separation between himself and his dad and at times painfully so. In la presa, we arrive in a small mountain town located in Aguascalientes, Mexico, named Presa de los Sernas. With this series, Kevin sought to explore his relationship to his father, who emigrated to the U.S. from this town in the late 70’s, in the hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of his father’s identity. This attempt to bridge a divide that has permeated their relationship, is done through photographic observation of the town where Kevin believes his father’s identity, values and expectations were solidified.. Over the seven year span of this project, many of the photographs take place during an annual week long celebration of San Jose, the Father of Jesus.
Many of these photographs are made with Kevin’s father beside the camera as he acts as a kind of fixer for Kevin and his subject matter, because of this, his father is almost never directly photographed, but simply a character at the edge of the frame guiding Kevin into the world he believe his Father truly inhabits. Through these photographs; mutual empathy and realizations emerge and a perceived divide mends. This is how Kevin is able to truly know his Dad.
To view more of Kevin’s work please visit his website.