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Focus on Camera USA 2018 Merit Award winner Lisette Morales


On view now through August 3 at the Naples Art Association is the Camera USA 2018 photography exhibition. One of the images juried into this year’s show is Margarita Claro by Naples photographer Lisette Morales, a Nicaraguan-American visual artist based in Florida. She works in photography and illustration focusing 0n documenting social and humanitarian issues.

“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world,” she says, quoting Dolores Huerta.

The subject of her Camera USA 2018 photo is a resident of East Naples. Margarita Claro is a community organizer of Mexican descent and a Frida Kahlo researcher.

“I met Margarita through my volunteer work in her community and I asked her if she would pose for me with her traditional clothing,” Lisette divulges in her Artist Statement accompanying the 16 x 24 inch portrait. “She agreed and this portrait was captured in her living room with the natural light by her window.”

Margarita Claro comes from Morales’ Compathy series. The term refers to a shared feeling (joy or sorrow). “I think it describes really well what these women do every day in their community,” Lisette explains. “Yet they are invisible outside their world. I was compelled to create these images because of their extraordinary stories and the lack of representation of Latinas behind and in front of the lens of a camera.”

Last year, it was a photo from her Women’s March 2017 series that was juried into the venerable NAA photo competition.

That memorable image was titled Feminism is Universal. Lisette shot it in Cambier Park (although the march itself spilled through Park and onto Fifth Avenue South).

Energetic and adventurous, some of her other series track What We Must Do, Mayan Souls, The Everglades, Art Basel Miami 2017, Earth Day 2017 and Iceland Pride Week 2016. So it should come as no surprise that Lisette took to the streets to record the human drama emanating from one of the more devastating storms to  strike the Florida Peninsula in a decade.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, I was among the 5% of the population with power and my house sustained minor damages. So when someone gifted me 10 gallons of gasoline and a pair of rubber boots I jumped to join (with my camera) relief efforts. People-to-people assistance where FEMA and other official convoys hadn’t reach[ed] yet. We went to East Naples and migrant camps located in the outskirts of our city with food, water, and other supplies.”

Her Hurricanes series is comprised of images of the dramatic moments when givers and receivers met.

Margarita Claro garnered one of five Merit Awards at Camera USA 2018. But with or without the recognition and validation, it’s pretty apparent that Lisette Morales is a photographic force to be reckoned with – an artist with the curiosity and enthusiasm to produce fascinating and insightful glimpses into people and their human interactions for decades to come.

For more on Lisette Morales and her photography, please visit

June 10, 2018.



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