A short biography
I was born in Southern California, the youngest of six children. My earliest dream was to go to France. With the support of my mother I went to live for a year with a family in Paris when I was fifteen, and attended classes at Cours Désir. I began visiting museums with the encouragement of my French family and the freedom given to me on Wednesdays without classes. It was in there that I began to engage with images, finding a companionship outside of time. It helped to articulate something that I had kept secret -- my wish for a creative life. This matter would, however, remain unsettled for the next ten years as I quietly sought expression in many things, trying to discover how this desire could unfold. I went to UC Santa Cruz, and studied dance and literature and film history for a year, returned to Paris, where I attended a book arts program, then through friendships, travelled to Japan, moved to Alaska, and then to San Francisco. There I attended City College, choosing to study film initially and then at the suggestion of one of my teachers, took a still photography course. It took two rolls of film for me to realize that I had discovered my work, and simultaneously, my joy. I found that making photographs was a way to express my love. After two years of courses, I found a mentor in Walter Chappell and moved to New Mexico to work with him. He encouraged me to use the 8x10 view camera, and it became the principal instrument of my work. I learned technique with him and he gave me a foundation in printmaking, practices which cultivated greater respect and discipline than I had naturally. He told me that one's work has a destiny of its own, independent from one's individual destiny. One endeavors to prepare the work for going out into world, like a child, and one has to let go at some point, releasing control for how it will be received, keeping hope, nevertheless, that it will live well and beyond its maker.
To learn more about my work, please view my CV. All photographs on this site are available for purchase. A selection of immediately available prints can be found in Prints. Larger formats of the pigment ink prints are available through Stinehour Editions. For portrait sittings, print orders and all other inquiries, please contact me through the button below.
To view my work as a designer of websites:
nomen est omen
Linda Elvira Piedra is the name I was given at birth, and the name with which my photographs were first published in 1996, when I photographed Dead Can Dance for 4AD Records. I began to be called Elvira in 1997, and a few years later decided that I wished to be known by that name. I continued, however, to exhibit and publish my photographic work under my full name. In 2014, I exhibited for the first time as Elvira Piedra, the name with which I would like the work to be now attributed.