SLUG Style: Jazmin Mendoza
Art and Fashion
Jazmin Mendoza is a photographer and artist from Salt Lake City who errs toward candid photography and free movement, particularly at events within the SLC art scene.
Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.
What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, decade, fictional character—anything.
I have adopted style components from every person I have ever met, but my biggest influences have been my parents. They grew up in Mexico in the ’70s, so a lot of their taste in music and fashion I took as my own. My dad sits somewhere between a Pachuco and Ranchero while my mom is more of an ’80s disco queen. I love picking elements from all of that and my Mexican heritage. More recently I have felt inspired by Dungeons and Dragons characters, as well as the art from Magic: The Gathering cards. I want to create more diverse representation within these worlds. I see this becoming more apparent in future work!
How would you describe your own photography work?
It’s hard to pin my style down because it adapts to whoever or whatever I am shooting. If the environment calls for something more organic, I lean into that and use a lot of natural lighting. When shooting at night, I tend to use a lot more flash and it becomes a little bit more moody. In any case, I always want to capture the essence of my subject. Everyone always brings something different to the table, and I love that!
When it comes to posing, I try to portray more candid moments and free movement. If I am not shooting an event, I love to get my friends together for more collaborative pieces. During these shoots, every person in that space plays an important part of one picture. We are all hyping each other up and having a great time. You can see the authenticity in their faces.
What are your interests or hobbies? What is the hobby or interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about?
I’ve always had a lot of interests and hobbies! There is a tutorial for everything online; it’s allowed me to explore a lot of different mediums. I’ve made a couple of simple cosplay costumes and props for shoots. I also enjoy working with clay, doodling, painting, collaging and playing the guitar. More recently I have gotten back into rock climbing and rollerskating as well. I think the hobby no one would think to ask me about would be cooking! I love to get recipes from my mom and make them vegan or dairy free.
When you’re reviewing your own photography work, how do you know you’ve got a good photo on your hands?
When it’s in focus, the contrast is perfect and the colors are radiant!
Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?
It depends on what day they catch me! Sometimes I am put together, wearing an outfit that was gracefully executed by my higher self, and other times I have just rolled out of bed to get some errands done with the most chaotic, cozy fit. Think Junie B. Jones meets Joey Ramone. But no matter what, my fashion is adaptable, and I will be ready for any occasion.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be?
Eccentric, Latina, smol.
You do a fair amount of event photography in the local art scene. What compels you to document these particular events?
Not everyone is comfortable sitting in front of a camera and being the center of attention with all eyes on them, so I enjoy bringing my camera to these events and getting people in a more comfortable setting. I love the authenticity I can capture in these moments when we are in our safe spaces surrounded by people who love us and see us for who we are. The events I tend to shoot are safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC community here in Salt Lake. I feel that deserves to be highlighted a lot more. I love the warmth these spaces curate. You can tell we are all just having fun, enjoying art and connecting with one another. It’s like I am getting a little time capsule put together during such a special time of our lives. I want us to look back on them in a few years and be like, “Do you remember that night?”
How has your personal style evolved over time?
Oh man, it has evolved in so many different ways and continues to do so. [I’ve gone] from being a 13-year-old, self-proclaimed scene queen to [exploring] of every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s to Miss Frizzle the preschool teacher and, now, a conglomerate of all of those things.
Find Mendoza’s work on Instagram @justxjazmin.