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Las Fotos Project

Photography, one of the most commonly applied visual arts, has been used as a vehicle to deepen insight and develop communication during therapy and rehabilitation for over a century. Techniques involving the articulation of emotions and analysis of one’s photographs and self-portraits are often referred to as ‘Phototherapy.’ It is this type of self-expressive process that allows a photographer to become aware of certain unconscious emotions, often leading to development and growth as the process of self-realization begins to unfold.

Las Fotos Project, a nonprofit photography movement striving to empower teen girls across Latino America, views phototherapy as a vital element in the process of becoming assertive and expressing self-identity. With the introduction of photography into the lives of disadvantaged Latinas worldwide, Las Fotos Project teaches a type of creative skill that allows for limitless growth, and the opportunity at an imaginative career. Additionally, one of the most fundamental human attributes— the need to communicate— is explored during Las Fotos Project workshops, allowing the girls to share their stories with those eager to listen.

Canadian psychologist Judy Weiser, who coined the term “Phototherapy” while using photos in her work counseling deaf children, states, “Every photograph someone takes is also a type of self-portrait reflecting them, because each contains information about the person who made it. Its visual contents metaphorically represent what was important enough to the photographer’s eyes at that moment that they chose to freeze it permanently. Even though they may well not be in that picture themselves, every step of choosing where, when, who, how, and why to take any photograph says as much about its creator as it does about the subject matter being recorded on film.”

The opportunity to express one’s self is frequently denied in societies across the world, and those unable to do so often turn to unhealthy forms of self-expression. With phototherapy focused lessons, one-on-one mentors and a supportive network of encouraging photographers, Las Fotos Project motivates Latinas to reach down into their core to discover who they are and what they can become and proudly share it with the world. If you would like to join the movement to empower Latina teens through photography and self-expression, contact Las Fotos Project via email at

About Las Fotos Project:

Las Fotos Project was founded in 2009 by photographer Eric V. Ibarra. After seeing a need for teenage girls throughout Latin America to have a skill that could help build their confidence and self-esteem, he combined his passion for photography and helping others to create Las Fotos Project. By partnering with youth empowerment organizations, he incorporates photography into the lives of Latina teens and introduces them to an art form that will bring about a positive change. The mission of Las Fotos Project is to promote creative exploration, build self-confidence and empower Latina teens with photography and self-expression.

Las Fotos Project Website:

Las Fotos Project Facebook:

By Eric V. Ibarra, Executive Director of Las Fotos Project.


About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Eric, this is truly inspiring. I’m curious to know if phototherapy is used in autistic children? This is no doubt, a progressive and great way to bring out the best in young Latinas. I also believe it should be considered a form of complimentary and alternative treatment since it is very holistic in principle and program.

  2. Eileen Rivera-de la Hoz says:

    This is great! It reminds me of a documentary I saw where a photographer gave cameras to children born in South Asian brothels.

  3. k. Cedano says:

    I “heart” this…

  4. Hi Jean_

    Thank you for your kind words of support. I have yet to hear of phototherapy being used with autistic children. However, art therapy is commonly used in the education curriculum for children and adults with autism. If you’d like to learn more about that particular focus, here is a link to a great informational site:

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at

    _Eric V. Ibarra
    Las Fotos Project

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