20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Maui native Kumu Hula Kawaiola Noelani Deguilmo poses in front of desert landscape in her new home of Reno, Nevada.

I wanted to try and recreate the look of old, early film photographs of hula dancers and Kumu Hula of the time by shooting this series of work on medium format 120mm film with my Pentax 6x7 camera. The old photographs are often very posed, with traditional adornments and implements included. However, I wanted this reimagining to juxtapose the difference of being photographed simply out of colonial exoticization and fascination in those early photographs, by letting my Kumu lead the creative direction of the shoot and allowing her to authentically express the beauty of herself, her culture and her profession as a Kumu Hula. Though she currently lives in a very harsh, desert environment that rarely sees rain, through the love she has for her culture, she calls in the breezes of the sea, the rain off the mountains and the music of the birds from her true home, Maui.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Reno, Nevada, United States of America
Camera: EZ Controller
Copyright: © Sarinah Simons