Hello! I'm so, so excited to be sharing the work and newly launched website (!) of one of my favorite people, Alejandra Carillo-Muñoz. Ale and I met each other in Guatemala while working for Mercado Global, and she quickly became one of my closest friends there. I feel the same way describing Ale as I do about Guatemala; no matter much I gush and attempt to convey my adoration and enthusiasm, words are going to fall short. I don't offer compliments lightly or out of obligation, and I say all of this of Ale with the utmost sincerity.
Beyond being an exceedingly talented designer and multimedia artist, Ale is a thoughtful anthropologist. Her work is informed by an understanding of design tenets, of course, but also by a profound respect for the artisans and materials she works with. In her own words, "My approach to design is centered around people and culture, which is the heart of artisan-based design. It applies anthropological methodologies based on field research and ethnography to better understand the cultural context."
In the realm of nonprofits and social enterprises, it's easy to become disillusioned; I've encountered countless individuals whose stated intentions are divorced from the often patronizing or misguided realities of their work. Ale is the antithesis of this. She is genuinely human and empathic, and interacts with all- artisans included- as such. Her relationships are based on mutual respect, and understanding. She is deeply invested in the people she works with, and in the contexts she works within, and this investment manifests beautifully in her work.
Ale's work is underpinned by a heartfelt deference for others, and a deep-seated desire to leverage that deference to make beautiful things. I was insanely lucky to work with her, of course, but also to photograph Ale and some of the brilliant artisans we worked with around the Highlands. It's incredibly inspiring to collaborate with other creatives-- especially those like Ale, who emphasize my own need to continue creating.
Keep scrolling to see some of the photos we shot together, and then make your way to Ale's site! If you're in the market for beautiful work/creative collaboration/intelligent conversation (which should cover virtually everybody), Ale is back stateside! Explore her site, and see what I'm talking about.