Profile of a Protagonist is a recurring blog post with the goal of showing readers how individuals in our Voice community engage in the Gospel and see God’s love lived out throughout Orlando. Meet the protagonists.
Meet Andrea Quiroz
Tell us about yourself:
I’m 22 years old and I’m a full time portrait, lifestyle, and travel photographer based in Orlando, Florida. I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. My family and I moved to the U.S. when I was 12 years old (7th grade). I didn’t know how to speak english so being thrown into middle school aka bullying central, was a real treat. Lets just say I developed really thick skin, really fast. I love challenges and that was the first of many major ones. A year later I was completely fluent in English and out of any ESOL (English as a Second Language) classes that were created to help foreign students adjust to the culture. Since then, I’ve been thriving. I was raised in the Catholic church, but I decided to leave the church and simplify my spiritual practice to just focusing on my relationship with God, a few years back. I’m the only Christian in my family per say, because every Catholic is a Christian but not every Christian is a Catholic. So obviously this arose some controversy in my family, but nothing God can’t fix. Throughout my teen/young adult years I developed a lot of insecurities in body image and self esteem; with God I’ve learned to accept those insecurities and cast them onto Him. This is ultimately what drives my passion, self love. I love myself because I’m made in God’s image and I want every single person that crosses paths with me to radiate the same light.
1)Where do you find inspiration from in your art/photography?
I get inspired from everyday life itself. I don’t think there is a specific source of inspiration for me; the closest thing would be people. I get inspired by the diversity and uniqueness of each individual I come across.
2) When did you first start getting into photography?
I started young, I was about 10 when I got my first camera and I’ve been non-stop shooting since.
3) When you photograph others, you’re always encouraging them. How do you want those you photograph to feel?
This is my favorite question because this aspect of my work is what makes me enjoy it the most. My goal is to make everyone see how truly beautiful they are and how their flaws are so unique and stunning. By encouraging them during the shoot I create a level of comfort between us, and thats when I’m able to capture them in an amazingly gorgeous raw form. See, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what an amazing thing it is to admire ourselves the way the Lord admires us.
I want every person who works with me to never feel discouraged about their looks again. I want them to leave my shoots with a changed confidence in themselves. The second I see people’s face light up when they see themselves in my photos, thats the second my job pays off.
4) How has your walk with Christ inspired your photography/art?
Okay maybe this is my favorite question haha, I should have read ahead. Gosh, I wish I could write up a whole essay on this one question alone. To keep it short, I owe it all to God. It wasn’t until I completely decided to surrender my whole life to serving His kingdom that I started developing my craft in such a unique way. I like to photograph raw expressions of people because through my walk with Christ I have learned the beauty in transparency, and by doing this I’ve found so much success in making people absolutely love themselves just a little more after seeing their photos. I’ve grown spiritually through my photography by learning to love myself and love on others the way God loves us. He never fails to amaze me with his perfect timing and his grace, there are some career altering opportunities that he’s played out for me that have just completely changed my perspective on art and people (my two favorite things), that I wouldn’t have been ready for before learning the basics of loving on people through my work.
Season after season, God continues to peel me like an onion, as an artist and as a person. He continues to show me everyday, how great life is with Him in it.
5) What are some of the best things that have happened during Covenant. House Cadence?
Covenant House Cadence was an incredible opportunity. I was completely out of my element because the youth we were ministering to were in my age group and I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures. I felt very naked, but as the semester played out I realized that God really wanted me to be fully present in that hour of bible study with these amazing people. It was only then that I was able to learn more about comfort zones and how mine is to stay behind the camera or behind the scenes.
God allowed me to have a louder voice and serve as a form of inspiration and hope for a group of people that was so lacking of that. I was so honored to get to speak to them and pray for them week in and week out. I felt like there was a light switch in me that was off, and after the semester spent at Covenant House, that light came back on. There was so much spiritual growth. I learned the beauty of patience, since they weren’t required to be there my co-leader Jacarri and I had to pray that at least one person will show up. And as the weeks went by we had a packed room, full of youth ready to talk about God and fellowship with us. It was incredible, it stretched me, and I’m forever changed.
6) How do you see God in the city of Orlando?
God is everywhere in Orlando!! In the people, in the communities, the creatives, the coffee shops, restaurants. God is truly moving in this city. The past couple of years have been spent going through trial after trial, with shootings, political issues, crime, and sorrow. But in spite of it all, this city has shown so much union and love for one another, and that can only be God.
7) How has the Voice impacted your walk with Christ?
The Voice has been such a blessing to my life. In every aspect, I’ve stepped out of comfort zones, I joined the pastoring team, and I met some life long friends. See, the Voice has this beautiful thing about it and its that it creates immediate community and instant family.
I’ve grown so much spiritually because I’m surrounded by people who want God just as much as I do. I’m constantly being stretched and pushed to seek more of Him in ways that I know I wouldn’t if I was alone in this walk. My prayer life has made a 180 turn, I pray so much, all the time, and thats not something I was used to doing as much before I became a part of the Voice. Like I said earlier, I grew up Catholic so a lot of the things that I know about being a Christian come from learning from the community of God fearing people at the Voice. And for that, I’m eternality grateful. My favorite thing to do is serve under this ministry, doing photography for the Voice is such an honor.
Check out more of Andrea’s photography and her blog here at: https://www.andreaquirozphotography.comw