Leica Women Foto Project Summit Gallery • Miami 2023 • Featured Images


Eli Farinango  Wilkay

Leica Women Foto Project • 2023 Grantee

Eli Farinango is a Kichwa artist and visual storyteller, born in Kichwa territory (Quito, Ecuador) and raised in Algonquin territory (Ottawa, Canada). Her documentary work focuses on cultural identity, indigenous healing practices, and the connection between body and territory. She is currently based in Lenape Territory (New York City).

Says Farinango of Wilkay:

"Wilkay is my personal narrative that speaks on the resiliency of the heart and spirit. I share my story of transmuting and healing from the abuse and gender-based violence I’ve experienced at different times in my life. In Kichwa, Wilkay means altar, and the process of creating this body of work has been a ceremonial experience that weaves in my own spiritual practice, ancestral memory and my search for emotional sovereignty beyond the harmful legacy that colonialism and the patriarchy has placed on bodies like mine.

Allowing myself to become radically vulnerable in front of my lens has led me to return to my body and reclaim safety within myself, my spirit, and my culture. Wilkay is my love letter to my ancestras, to my younger self, and the people in my life who have cultivated wisdom by strengthening the connection to the self and to our roots.

I hope that this work reaches those who are in their healing journey and nurtures patience within themselves as they move through the stories our bodies hold. I hope that my Wilkay is able to hold others in not feeling alone in this journey and inspires us to see moments of beauty even in the darkest days."


© Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay © Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay © Eli Farinango - Wilkay © Eli Farinango - Wilkay
© Eli Farinango - Wilkay




Greta Rico  Substitute Mother

Leica Women Foto Project • 2023 Grantee

Greta Rico is a documentary photographer, journalist and educator focused on gender, environment and food issues. Her work is focused on rehistoricizing the female body in a situated way, and exploring new representations of women in society and culture. Through his projects he reflects on coloniality, capitalist dispossession and the social trauma of current phenomena.

Inspired by the artist’s own family history, Mexican documentary photographer Greta Rico’s harrowing and illuminating project, Substitute Mother, tells the story of her cousin Siomara, who became a “Substitute Mother“ to her 3-year-old niece following her mother’s murder. This project shows how femicide does not end with murder, but has psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in orphan children, in mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts who become “Substitute Mothers“ due to violence.


© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
Nicole takes a bath at home on May 31st, 2020 at her house in Mexico City. Like many 6-year-old girls, Nicole does not like bathing, it is a challenge to convince her and already being underwater Siomara has to invent fun times for her to learn to enjoy it.
For the first time in her life, on December 25, 2019, Siomara attended a demonstration with Nicole (5 years old at the time) through the streets of Mexico City with a feminist organization on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to denounce the growing and worrying wave of feminicides in the country, the lack of access to justice, corruption and impunity for this phenomenon.
View of the roof where Siomara lives at her aunt's house. This photograph was taken on August 22, 2021 in Naucalpan, State of Mexico. Since Siomara became a mother, she has moved several times, all to neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, in precarious areas with high insecurity and crime rates.
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
Siomara carries Emiliano, one of her nephews, to say goodbye to my cousin Fernanda on the day of her funeral on November 9, 2017 in the State of Mexico, Mexico.
Siomara cleans the mirror of her room in her aunt's house where she and Nicole lived at the time, in Ecatepec, an area of the periphery of ​​the State of Mexico, one afternoon on May 8, 2021.
It is normal for young children to throw tantrums, however, caring for children with trauma requires increased care and attention. Ever since her mother was killed, Nicole has suffered bouts of anxiety as emotions she can't understand run through her. Without any psychological support due to Siomara's job insecurity, now as her mother she does what she can with the few tools she has. In the image, Siomara comforts her one afternoon on March 18, 2022 at her home in Mexico City.
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
Several months ago, in the midst of a crisis of intense hair loss, Siomara decided to cut Nicole's hair very short, in the aesthetic they made a braid and gave it to her to keep it. "I think it's better that Nico has short hair, that way he looks like a boy and I feel like she's at less risk when I'm not with her”, Siomara told me one afternoon on September 17, 2022 in an interview I did with her where she mentioned that she still had the braid, to take this photograph I asked her to show it to me and I put it on the bed.
One morning on May 31, 2020 Siomara and Nicole wake up together like every day at their home in Mexico City.
Siomara and Nicole sleep together since they are mother and daughter, their house has only one room and Nicole (then 6 years old) doesn´t like to sleep alone, she suffers night terrors as part of trauma since her mother was murdered.
Nicole and Siomara laugh and play in an ice cream shop. Behind them is a sign that reads in Spanish "extraordinary and nothing else”.
© Greta Rico - Substitute Mother
On September 12th, 2021, and thanks to the support of an organization that works with girls who are victims of violence, Siomara managed to get Nicole to enter a boarding school where she stayed 5 days a week. In this place they can take care of her, take her to school, help with homework and provide psychological therapy while Siomara begins to look for a more stable job.




Maggie Steber  Secret Garden of Lily LaPalma

Maggie Steber is a documentary photographer who has worked in 72 countries photographing stories on the human condition, cultures, histories, con-flict, and science. She is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 2017-2018, and was named as one of eleven Women of Vision by National Geographic Magazine where she is a regular contributor. Other honors include Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2019, the National Geographic “Photographer’s Photographer” award in 2018, the President’s Award from the Overseas Press Club, the Lucie Award for Photojournalism 2019, Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo First Prize in Spot News, Pictures of the Year Awards, Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri, the Alicia Patterson Grant, the Ernst Haas Grant and a Knight Foundation Grant. She has worked in Haiti over 30 years and her book, Dancing on Fire: Photographs from Haiti, was published by Aperture.


© Maggie Steber - The Secret Garden of Lily LaPalma © Maggie Steber - Garden of Lily LaPalma
Man Born from Blossoms
The Sacred Heart of an Innocent Boy




 María Martínez-Cañas

Cuba-born and Miami-based, Maria Martinez-Cañas fuses aspects of photography, painting, and collage to excavate an allusive journey back to starting points, 
both personal and cultural. Her artistic quest juggles contradictory 
elements and innovative media to resolve feelings of displacement and 
 Martinez-Cañas' multidimensional images explore the 
complexities of identity with a balance of fragility and power. Her
 works have been exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad,
 with 50 one-person exhibitions and over 300 group exhibitions, and
 are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum of Contemporary
 Art in Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of
 Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, among many others.

The images featured in the Leica Women Foto Project Gallery are from her lesser known street work. 

© María Martínez-Cañas © María Martínez-Cañas
Postcards & Painting - Paris, Archival Pigment Print, 2018
Istanbul Kebap Bar - Paris, Archival Pigment Print, 2018




Ashlyn McKibben  She Should Have Just Left

Ashlyn McKibben is a Miami-based documentary and portrait photographer (and past Leica Store Miami employee!) Her fine art work primarily focuses on the ever-changing "roles" of age and gender and empowers her subjects to question the standards and expectations set by traditional society.

Her self-portrait series She Should Have Just Left is about the trust she developed in herself after leaving an abusive relationship and how this vast earth that we live on became her healing place.

Says McKibben: 

"When I left the situation in March 2020 I felt like I did not know who I was. I was a blank slate, and I had to re-discover the simplest things about myself. I was eighteen when I became attached to this man, and at twenty four, those six years felt like a black hole. My goals were diminshed and I felt like I was not capable of achieving both personal and career goals. 

Later that year I took a solo trip to a few National Parks and hiking destinations just to escape. This is how my most current body of work was born. I spent a few days in White Sands National Park and photographed myself for the first time outside of my home. These self portraits were a visual representation of how I felt, both literally and metaphorically. Alone in a vast, unfamiliar space. Despite the vastness, I felt like I was safe. I began to trust my own navigation and realized I needed to be better about trusting myself in all aspects of life furthermore."


© Ashlyn McKibben © Ashlyn McKibben
White Sands National Park - 2020
Moab, Utah - 2023