10 minutes with Gabriela Hasbun

Interviews with Photographers April 4, 2011 8:31 am
You have some pretty amazing roots – I think the last time I saw you we spent a majority of time talking about your family history. Does that in any way affect your work and what you want to photograph?

Yes, my curiosity to continuously learn about my family’s history has influenced my work every step of the way. I was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador into a Christian Palestinian family. Being the youngest of 24 cousins I know the least of the family’s history especially because the elders passed away when I was too young to care about my family’s heritage. In college, I did a whole series based on my family’s old photographs. I was obsessed with my grandmother’s and mother’s collection of black and white prints. I took color photographs of an abandoned old house my grandmother has in El Salvador and photo-shopped scans of old prints of my mom, grandma and other relatives into the environment. When I left school, the first body of work I shot was the Mission Miracle Mile series, whose history I was completely fascinated by.

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

I love your project Fat. Fit. Flabulous! Where did you come up with the idea to photograph these gorgeous, confident women and how did you go about finding your subjects?

I saw an article in Marie Claire magazine about this woman, Marilyn Wann, who had fought hard to institute a policy to protect people against  weight and height discrimination. She is also an activist for fat acceptance and the author of Fat! So?, which I think everyone needs to read. Anyhow, being a big girl myself, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I started doing more research and found out about “Health at Every Size”, “National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance,” etc. All I could think of was, “why didn’t I know about these women when I was a teen struggling with weight and height issues!!” After many months of waiting for a response from Marilyn and a few other folks I had contacted like the “Padded Lilies” I almost lost hope when all of a sudden, by pure coincidence, my editor at the time at The East Bay Express, Justin Page, calls me up to ask if I wanted to photograph Marilyn Wann and a few other fat activists in the Bay Area. The rest is history as I completely fell in love with these wonderful ladies.

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

What’s your daily routine like on a day when you’re not on assignment?

They’re definitely not as exciting as when I’m on assignment as I’m constantly trying to push my cat, Emma, away from my hard drives and keyboard. When she does let me get some work done, I’m working on invoicing, marketing and producing other shoots.

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

Gabriela Hasbun

Any upcoming goals?

Yes! Starting a new project!! And re-organizing my website.

(Gabriela is located in San Francisco. See more of her work, here)

2 Comments

  • Baron Peters

    Fabulous photos and great stories Gabriela! Of course my favorite is the Marilyn Wann project 🙂

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