The Photographic Journal


Essay 488 • Nov 7th 2021

I grew up in a devout Catholic, right-wing family in a small fishing town in Galicia. Sexism was the default setting. The turning point was when my mother, came to an exhibition of mine in Madrid, when I was twenty-four, and witnessed the large self-portrait prints, her daughter naked, in intimate and erotic poses. She was deeply shocked, yet this heralded a moment of change, not just for me, but, wonderfully, for her too. Some of these photographs are now proudly and permanently displayed in her living-room.

Fast-forward to me being the only woman photographer to shoot covers for Playboy in Spain. The irony of this is not lost on me. I was photographing women, telling them what to do, objectifying them. So far, so inevitable, yet I don't regret it, as the experience strongly influenced my development both as a photographer and an artist. Simultaneously, I was beginning to intuit what was truly feminine. I started feeling that the women I was photographing were really like me; "feminine". They accepted their femininity as a natural way of being, along with the power that accompanied it.

The project doesn’t promote a particular viewpoint; it's about discovering who people are regardless of their labels.


Antonia Penia

I’m a London-based photographer and creative director with over 18 years’ experience.
If there’s one thing that fuels my art, it’s a deep desire for connection – throughout the years, it’s been shaped by longing, loss, love and the need to express. After winning the ‘Young Creator of the Year Award’ at Feria de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid for my self-portrait series ‘Leave Me Alone’, I turned my attention to capturing more intimate, sensual and powerful images.
My use of light, playful storytelling and irrefutable connection to the subject earned me covers in Interview and Playboy, as well as features in GQ, Maxim Man, and Vogue Italia.
My current artistic interest lies in the intersection of fashion, fine art and sensuality. This new chapter has brought many new clients, as I’ve shot and directed for London fashion houses Amanda Wakeley; Beulah; Ellis Bridal; Harry Brown an so on.
Website | Instagram

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