Redemption is a provocative photography exhibit that explores the complexity of self-definition for gay men of color. The photographer, David Quintanilla drew inspiration for “Redemption” from reading the work of Black gay novelist James Baldwin. Redemption is unique in that while it addresses broader cultural issues that impact men of color’s ability to self-define, issues such as immigration or state violence, “Redemption” remains firmly and unapologetically within an illustrious gay male artistic tradition. An example of this bridging of various issues and communities, is Quintanilla’s piece “The Son and the Prophet” which is a profound meditation on the struggles that gay men of Latin and Arab descent must face concerning religion. Further, the exhibit has a strong male nude component to further highlight gay men’s vulnerability and connection to the rest of humanity. While the models represent a certain bodily ideal, Quintanilla purposely wanted to draw attention to the fact that regardless of what body they possess, gay men of color are still excluded from the Western ideal.


David Quintanilla is a photographer living in San Diego, California who is originally from El Paso, Texas. Inspired by his predominantly Mexican and Catholic community while growing up in West Texas he turned to art as an outlet for self expression. He has been working as a portrait and editorial photographer for over a decade. Quintanilla was the 2016 photographer for our fine art photography program and his exhibit Redemption opened at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Quintanilla gained national attention in 2009 for his Boycott Hate Campaign, a social media photo campaign he started in order to protest the controversial immigration law being passed in Arizona at the time. He continues to work as a photographer.