Emerald Arguelles’ photography celebrates Blackness, fashion, and extravagance

Photography by Emerald Arguelles. Models are Maya Ashes, Steve White, Shawn Juwan and Keys. Designer is Shunelle Porcena. Make-Up Artist is Sophia Nava. Jewelry made by Tatiana Cabral Smith.

Emerald’s photography reconstructs her experiences of growing up surrounded by women, particularly in the South, who embodied confidence, grandeur, hustle, and extravagance. Her work both reimagines the past and looks to the future for Black Americans, creating what she calls an “imagined domestic fantasy” through a mesmerizing combination of fashion editorial and fine art.

Maya Statement: 

“Maya is the intentional action to collaborate with only a Black or person of color team to create a series of images that are bigger than life. The merging of art, fashion and culture is a constant theme in my work.  The celebration of Black beauty, creativity and the Black body.”

My God Wears A Durag Statement:

“My God Wears A Durag is a series of photographs that show Black men and women in elongated durags. Certain aspects of black culture have been demonized by society or appropriated—this view of juxtaposing elements, with varying subtle locations and pastel colors. The purpose of this is to show the softness of Black men and women. It starts conversations about the significance of the durag and how society views Black men and women. Most importantly, how we view ourselves as gods.”

Glory Statement:

“Glory was made out of a need to create during the pandemic, I styled the model in my own clothes, created the backdrop from fabrics and shot it on my balcony. I wanted to create a series to represent royalty and regality in Black women along with a color palette that made her complexion the focal point.”

Artist Bio:

Emerald Arguelles is a photographer and editor based in Savannah, GA. As a young visual artist, Emerald has become an internationally recognized photographer through her explorations and capturing of Black America. With an audacious mentality, Emerald relentlessly creates a communal space Black folx in the modern world. Through her contemporary photographic work, Emerald acknowledges and honors the Black Community, alluding to the importance of cultural acceptance and appreciation that can be recognized for decades to come.

Photography by Emerald Arguelles emeraldarguelles.com

Model is Maya Ashes / Instagram: @maya.ashes
Designer is Shunelle Porcena / Instagram: @nelly_thedesigner
Make-Up Artist is Sophia Nava / Instagram: @solbeauti
Jewelry made by Tatiana Cabral Smith / Instagram: @tatianacabralsmithjewelry
Assistants were Naequa Petermon and Yohance Robles / Instagram: @naequapetermon @dayoshwitdamost

Brands used are:
Nelly Co. @nelly_thedesigner / Tatiana Cabral Smith @tatianacabralsmithjewelry / Sophia Nava @solbeauti /

My God Wears A Durags Models are Steve White / Instagram: @sunsorcerer / Shawn Juwan / Instagram: @Shawnjuwan / Keys / Instagram: @keyztodacity