Written By: Tiffany Jillian Go
If photographer Thurees Obenza (@thurees_) were to direct a self-portrait, she would have three key elements: hard shadows, a bad bitch mentality, and the color pink.
But being in the pink is only one aspect of this professional photographer’s life because she loves being surrounded by color, and it reflects so clearly in the way Thurees calls the shots. Her shots are what we mean when we refer to the numerous hue-splayed photographs you see, whether on her Instagram or on the profiles of the brands she’s worked with.
The early days and her current waveFor Thurees, setting the stage for her eventual pursuit meant blending in. “In college, I asked for a DSLR because my friends were into film.” Her dream was to become a theater actress someday, so she’d find herself on stage or in front of the camera, but never behind it.
But fiddling with her camera led her to pursue boudoir photography, but for some reason, she felt it wasn’t right. It was in product photography that she found a great treasure and she has been on it ever since.
“Product photography challenges me in so many ways - experimenting on lighting, on concepts, and collaborating with brands I love.”
Her talent is evident, having a strong portfolio of brands under her sharp and keen eye like CreamSilk, Happy Skin Cosmetics, Fiona Jewelry, FINO Leatherware, Colourette Cosmetics, Fresh Formula, Dima Health and Nala Woman, to name a few, and she shows no signs of stopping.
On the “Sunny East Side” of Things: Being a boss and loving herself
This young photographer also believes that the right side is the Sunny East Side, or at least that’s what she calls the photo studio she owns. Being your own boss is an attitude that proves challenging for some, but for Thurees, it comes to her so naturally.
“Honestly, the female spirit comes so naturally to me that even though I don’t really plan on it, my photographs scream female empowerment! I guess I’m just always drawn to using feminine elements in the photos I create.”
She describes her style as diverse but with a focus on rustic, pop, or minimalist. In fact, you can spot her biking in her neighborhood, peeping through thrift stores to bring her visions to life.
But more than embracing femininity in her work, she embraces the spirit, period, because at the core, she says the female spirit is being unapologetically comfortable in your own skin, whatever the color of it is. In the podcast Moreno, Morena, she shares that while she is proud of being morena, her beliefs were not always like that.
“I bought my first papaya soap with my own money because my mom didn’t let me,” she shares. “She always found my skin to be beautiful -- actually, my mom is my biggest fan, like she always called me ‘beautiful,’ and I believed her growing up.”
But after purchasing the soap, she found herself riled up that she wasn’t getting any lighter, and so she decided to drop the lightening and stick to what she was born in. She credits her strong sense of self-love to her mother, who taught her how to love herself growing up. “If my mom thinks I’m beautiful, then I might be, and I think that’s a huge part of parenting -- if you believe in your kids, they will eventually believe in themselves too.”
Knowing who she was at an early age helped her be the person she is today: a loud and high-energy personality that extends to her art, an effective elevator pitch if we ever saw one. Being this open has her talking about just anything and everything, including the stuff declared taboo, like periods.
“I always openly talk about my periods because they’re natural! I honestly don’t understand why it was ever taboo.”
Thurees refuses to be summarized because of the many deviations you can find her in, but if she were to go by a word: it’s femme-powered.
Cue the mic drop because she has indeed spoken, and she won’t stop. Not by a long shot.
About The Writer:
Tiffany is a freelance content creator and storyteller who aims to spark conversations and dialogue, with five years of hotel PR and communications under her belt. When she’s not looking out for the next story to write, you can find her reviewing films and television, experimenting in the kitchen, and talking about periods (because they shouldn’t be taboo).
Follow her on Instagram @tiffanyjillian