Luisa Dörr is a Brazilian photographer whose work is mainly focused on the feminine human landscape. Through the quietness of her storytelling, she uses the portrait as a vehicle to tell narratives, and explore the complexity of human nature and femininity.
Dörr’s photographs have been published in TIME magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times, PDN, GEO, Wired, among many others. She’s had exhibitions in Brazil, United States, Spain, France, Portugal, England and Russia. In 2015, Dörr was selected for LensCulture Emerging Talent. In 2018, she won POYi Documentary Project of the Year, ‘FIRSTS’ for TIME Magazine and Magenta Flash Forward Award with Maysa’s story. In 2019, she won 3rd prize with Falleras for the portrait stories category of the World Press Photo Award.
Dörr recently celebrated her first publishing in National Geographic magazine, where she photographed members of the women’s group, ImillaSkate, a group of Bolivian skateboarder who use Indigenous attire to battle discrimination. The word Imilla means “young girl” in Aymara and Quechua, the most widely spoken Native languages.
Their skirts, known as Polleras, celebrate ties to their Indigenous ancestry. Per Dörr’s Instagram, colored polleras are symbols of cultural identity in the interior of Bolivia. The history of the voluminous traditional skirts worn by indigenous Aymara and Quechua women is complex: since the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, polleras were imposed by colonial rulers to reflect a style used in Spain. Skirts were eventually adopted as part of Andean dress, most commonly associated with cholitas – indigenous highland women. Polleras inspire cultural pride, but they are also a reminder of rural oppression.
I’ve always dreamed of being there, seeing my project on Imilla in the January 2023 issue is surreal.
Based in Bahia, Brazil, Dörr is currently working on projects related to women and cultural traditions. Parallel to these projects, she photographs for assignments worldwide.
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All photos are copyright of Luisa Dörr, in partnership with National Geographic. Text by Paula Ramón.