“I could feel the energy and excitement which was a result of her building fame and recognition.”
If there’s anything I love as much as Selena Quintanilla’s music, it’s her photos. Her style has always been well documented, through her imagery and her personality always shined through.
Over Selena’s career, she’s been able to cultivate a fan base that is still very strong and always growing. So I decided to reach out to the photographer who is responsible for creating some of the most popular images we all know and love.
BuzzFeed spoke to Texas photographer John Dyer about his experience photographing Selena and his time working with her on two occasions between 1992 and 1994.
John said the first time he photographed Selena in 1992 was for “a full article shoot for a national magazine (her first).”
“The second shoot we did [in 1994] was much shorter and more like a photoshoot with an established star. Quiet, less overt excitement, but she was still willing to pose in the ways I wanted.”
During his first shoot with Selena, John was tasked with photographing Selena for the upcoming cover of Mas Magazine. According to John, “She drove up by herself in her little red hatchback and parked in front of my studio.”
“They wanted a cover and main spread profiling this young Texas singer who was starting to make a name for herself in the world of Tejano music.”
“I had heard of Selena but I didn’t know very much about her and certainly had no idea of what was to come.”
John detailed the shoot’s setup, saying, “For the cover, we shot in front of a gray background. Then we moved in front of a red curtain above a black and white checked floor.
“We ended outside the studio against a white seamless in the warm afternoon light. Selena’s quick smile, infectious laugh, and unending energy made her a pleasure to work with.”
The second time John photographed Selena was for Texas Monthly in 1994, and by this time she had already become famous and was known to many.
John went on to say that the response from Selena’s fans has been “pretty unbelievable.” “What’s hard for me to believe is that as the years pass, her fame keeps growing,” he added.
“When we opened my “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena” exhibition at the McNay Museum in San Antonio, I saw many people in tears.”
“That positive feedback keeps increasing as more time passes since her death. Personally, I feel very lucky to have met and photographed her and feel that I got the very best portraits of her that exist.”
John believes he used his skills accumulated throughout the years as a photographer to photograph Selena “in the ways I thought would be most sensitive to her as a person, woman and performer.”
“And, to produce portraits of her that are truthful, honest and free of artifice.”
And if you ask me, he has succeeded in just that. Her photographs are always beautiful and her music will continue to bring in new fans appreciative of her work.
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