The fashion photographer discusses her long-anticipated first photobook
“Tengo un dragón dentro del corazón,” Carlota Guerrero says. The Spanish phrase translates as “I have a dragon inside my heart,” and has been the photographer’s guiding mantra since she was a child. It is also the title of her first photobook, which compiles a decade of her fashion photography. Guerreo makes it clear; this book is a culmination of her passions, a celebration of her craft.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” Guerrero explains. “To put together a body of work in a structured and solid story. The book is the perfect format for it.” Self-taught, Guerrero has collaborated with well-known artists and musicians, including the likes of Arca, Solange Knowles, and Rupi Kaur. Her gentle, heartfelt style paints femininity in new lights. Womanhood, in all its forms, finds a home within her images.
Throughout the book, published by Prestel, Guerrero is in conversation with herself, creating a reflective narrative. “I’m putting images from 2012 with what I showed last month. They have the same elements, and they morph all into new things. They share the same essence,” she explains. “Every piece is in dialogue, going back and forth in time.”
Tengo un dragón dentro del corazón feels less like a studio shoot, and more like an intimate gathering of like minded bodies. Performance and softness interact throughout the pages, as Guerrero allows both to exist without contention.
Guerrero describes her process as a series of obsessions, ideas that come alive in the studio. “Once I have an idea, I cannot do anything else. I once tried to run away from my ideas. I realised it was impossible. I commit to them as if it was a marriage,” Guerrero says. These obsessions interact in a web of themes, feelings, and subjects. “I created a map, where every shoot was connected to another one. It’s a circle, the first image relating to the last.
“I have a dragon inside my heart,” she repeats. “I’m very anxious, very driven with a lot of energy. I’m always making things happen. I imagine this dragon in my heart. This dragon helps, and sometimes, you get magic in the studio.”
Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.