Meet The Photographer Behind Sativa Spring Look Book, Monica Saldana
Meet Monica Saldana the photographer behind the Sativa Spring 2018 Look Book and the inspiration behind Monica OG crewneck.
I have been documenting life since I was 8 years old, that is when I received my very first camera. In high school I took Journalism classes with the hopes of someday becoming a news reporter or photojournalist. Through journalism in high school is where I discovered my love of storytelling both written and photographed. Unfortunately, I was not able to afford college and I was not what they would have considered academically gifted, so I did not qualify for any scholarships. College was completely out of the question. Instead, I was resourceful and was led in a different direction creatively.
"I mentored under some of San Antonio’s most revered photographers and artists. I learned to embrace what is before me, to capture a moment as I see it and to completely feel it."
I worked for many years as a successful makeup artist. As a makeup artist my resume included being key makeup artist as well as Director of makeup and hair for several independent films in TX, worked in countless publications to include people in Español, red carpet makeup and concert makeup for Mexican celebrities and radio personalities. While working as a makeup artist I worked alongside a lot of photographers and cinematographers that is when I became reacquainted with photography as a career.
My younger sister was also a fashion photographer, she was very well respected in her short time as a photographer. In May of 2016 my sister Veronica " Rebel Ronnie" passed away. She was my biggest supporter. She was always encouraging me to live my dreams and just go for it. I inherited my sister’s camera and photography equipment. That is when I decided to change paths creatively. Makeup no longer excited me the way photography did. I mentored under some of San Antonio’s most revered photographers and artists. I learned to embrace what is before me, to capture a moment as I see it and to completely feel it.
Since I have begun my journey as a photographer my work has been featured on the vogue Italia website 13 times. I was most recently a featured artist in Los Angeles at the Plaza De La Raza for a group art show where I showed a photo of Selena I took when I was 15 years old. I have had my photography featured in local galleries in San Antonio, as well as having my work shown in New York through my documentary photography touching on issues of immigration, Mexican American studies, and DACA. I am incredibly excited to see where else this journey takes me.
"Since I have begun my journey as a photographer my work has been featured on the vogue Italia website 13 times. "
My relationship to the cannabis community is that of an avid supporter of it for both medical and recreational use. I have been a cannabis enthusiast since I was 18 years old. I have seen the ravages of alcoholism and how it is so destructive and tears families apart. I will say from my experience that cannabis is a natural, safe, and affective way to keep healthy. I have seen firsthand the positive effects of cannabis as my sister began cannabis oil before her first treatment of chemotherapy. There was a bit of improvement initially but of course it did allow her to feel good after her therapy, she was able to eat, sleep, and live a life as close to normal. Sadly, without adequate access to it [Cannabis] in a state where it is illegal her last month of life she was in a great deal of pain. I feel that if she had access to cannabis she would have had a better quality of life or possibly even been healed.
The conversation on cannabis must change. The idea that cannabis is used and by the dredges of society or that those who consume are not productive members of society are antiquated views. A vast majority of enthusiasts are business people, artists, teachers, doctors, attorneys, chefs, surgeons, and CEOs. I can hardly wait for the day where we can ALL go out to our gardens to cultivate our own grown herbs alongside our vegetable gardens. Until then I will continue to support for the legalization of Cannabis worldwide.
Monica E. Saldana