Ilana Guaraca

To survive the past year, I’ve found solace in the reintroduction of me to me. Our days lacked personal connection, ran far from touch, leaving us in a desperate place of trying to survive, arm and arm with the process of relearning how to not feel so alone. I delved far into self portraiture this year. With the new distance and isolation that came with my familial bonds unraveling, I found my mind numbing as I sat day in and out in a room of muted memories and colors. I’d never given taking my own portrait a second thought, maybe the ingrained insecurities, maybe some fear of hating who I’ll see; but it’s given me a way to reach in and unfold the repressed memories I’ve held onto for far too long. Given me a way to visually document the words stuck in the ink of my notebooks I’ll never fully share. My project holds pieces of my past and my now, memories of those I’m losing and those I’ve lost. The unfamiliarity of it all, the excitement of turning it into art, retiring and letting it go.


Ilana Guaraca is a seventeen year old creative from New York City. She spent her childhood between the city and a small town in Ecuador before starting her artistic and photographic journey in high school. She is currently a senior at Lab High School and is planning to study fine arts at The Cooper Union. She is a student in the Teen Academy Imagemakers program at the International Center of Photography and has participated in other Teen Academy classes as well as in the pre-college program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is inspired by the work of Justine Kurland, Lula Hyers, and Gregory Crewdson, and creates work that surrounds personal themes of intimacy and self reflection. She is excited to continue developing and expanding her body of work as she continues to grow and find her voice as an artist.