Quinceañera in Colombia by Delphine Blast

“Quinceañera” also called « fiesta de quince años » is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.
Laura Cristina Zarta poses in her Quinceanera Dress, at her parents' home in the southern suburb of Bogotá

“Quinceañera” also called « fiesta de quince años » is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.

If the celebration varies significantly across countries, it has a great importance in Colombia where it is very traditional and common. From an anglo-­‐saxon perspective, the festival would seem a combination of a “sweet sixteen” birthday party combined with a coming out ball for debutantes. The “Quinceañera”, i.e. the birthday girl usually wears a big colorful dress that is the visible centerpiece of this celebration and mirrors what Cinderella might’ve worn to her fairytale ball.

Brenda Lizeth Correa, Bogota, November 2014 Brenda’s parents are both recyclers. They saved money for more than 3,5 years and spent more than 6,5 millions pesos (nearly 3000 US$) to organize the celebration. 150 people were invited. Brenda wants to become a surgeon
Brenda Lizeth Correa, Bogota, November 2014
Brenda’s parents are both recyclers. They saved money for more than 3,5 years and spent more than 6,5 millions pesos (nearly 3000 US$) to organize the celebration. 150 people were invited. Brenda wants to become a surgeon

The “Quinceañera” is usually considered as miniature weddings and a lot of families do not hesitate to spend millions of pesos to organize the event, even among the poorest ones.

Luna Valentina Arias Beltran, Bogota, November 2014 Luna’s father is a shoemaker and her mother a recycler. They are very simple people and didn’t have planed to celebrate her fifteen birthday party until they finally gathered a enough money. It was a last minute celebration with 80 people. Luna wants to become a soap opera actress.
Luna Valentina Arias Beltran, Bogota, November 2014
Luna’s father is a shoemaker and her mother a recycler. They are very simple people and didn’t have planed to celebrate her fifteen birthday party until they finally gathered a enough money. It was a last minute celebration with 80 people. Luna wants to become a soap opera actress.

As a woman myself, I decided to go and meet these girls in order to better understand what this celebration really means for them and their family. I spent two months in Bogota and met various “Quinceañeras” in their home and took a portrait of each girl, posing in their own environment with their birthday dresses.

About Delphine Blast

Delphine Blast is a French documentary and portrait photographer, based between Paris and Bogotá. After studying project management, Delphine worked for several years in France and abroad before finally turning to photography. In 2011, she decided to go back to France to become a professional photographer where she studied photojournalism at EMI CFD’s school of Paris.

Delphine’s work draws primarily on an emotional response and engagement with her subjects. She focuses on the personal and private aspects of people’s lives and is motivated by a strong desire to get under the skin and straight to the heart of the issues they strive to deal with. Believing that we are all connected on every level, she focuses on the humanitarian dimension of life and wish to connect the human and natural kingdoms all together. [Official Website]

Iasbleidy Bogota, November 2014 The "Quinceañera" of Iasbleidy was a surprise party organized by her parents. When asked his parents when they prepare for this feast, they answer that it's been over 15 years...
Iasbleidy Bogota, November 2014
The “Quinceañera” of Iasbleidy was a surprise party organized by her parents. When asked his parents when they prepare for this feast, they answer that it’s been over 15 years…

Delphine works regularly for the press, NGOs and various institutions in France and abroad, while she keeps on working on personal projects that are meaningful to her.

Since November 2014, she developed various personal projects in Latin America and specifically in Colombia, where she works on the place of women in Colombian society. Her work has been exhibited in France, Bolivia, Malaysia and more recently in Georgia where her two projects about the women issue in Colombia were exhibited at the Kolga Festival, in Tbilisi.

Her portrait of “Laura Cristina” from her work “Quinceañera in Bogotá” won the prize of the best photograph of the year 2014 by the Spanish magazine Portalvoz de España. Delphine is a member of the studio Hans Lucas since 2015.

Natalia Calderon, Bogotá, Décembre 2014 Natalia's mother hasn’t had a chance to celebrate her quinceañera. It was very important to her to organize an unforgettable party for her daughter. As she explains: "It happens only once in your life ..." 100 people attended the party.
Natalia Calderon, Bogotá, Décembre 2014
Natalia’s mother hasn’t had a chance to celebrate her quinceañera. It was very important to her to organize an unforgettable party for her daughter. As she explains: “It happens only once in your life …” 100 people attended the party.

Iasbleidy Gahona Carvajal, Bogotá, December As a gift for his 15 years Iasbleidy's parents had offered to choose between a trip or his party. In his view, the choice was clear: "the Quinceañera" was his dream for years. His parents (his taxi driver and security guard) expended more than 10 million pesos (3,700 euros) and invited more than 180 people. Iasbleidy wants to become a stewardess.
Iasbleidy Gahona Carvajal, Bogotá, December
As a gift for his 15 years Iasbleidy’s parents had offered to choose between a trip or his party. In his view, the choice was clear: “the Quinceañera” was his dream for years. His parents (his taxi driver and security guard) expended more than 10 million pesos (3,700
euros) and invited more than 180 people. Iasbleidy wants to become a stewardess.

Karen Rodriguez, Bogota, November 2014 Karen lives with her mother only. Who is a secretary and saved some money for more than one year and had a six months loan to organize the party. It cost 4 millions pesos (1 800 US$) and 85 people were invited. Karen wants to become a doctor.
Karen Rodriguez, Bogota, November 2014
Karen lives with her mother only. Who is a secretary and saved some money for more than one year and had a six months loan to organize the party. It cost 4 millions pesos (1 800 US$) and 85 people were invited. Karen wants to become a doctor.

Valeria Sofia Chindoy, Bogotá, Novembre 2014 Valeria’s quinceañera was a surprise party organized by her parents. She dreamed of her celebration since her childhood. When her parents asked her what she wanted as a present for her birthday, she said she wanted her parents to get married. Over 150 people were invited to this double celebration.
Valeria Sofia Chindoy, Bogotá, Novembre 2014
Valeria’s quinceañera was a surprise party organized by her parents. She dreamed of her celebration since her childhood.
When her parents asked her what she wanted as a present for her birthday, she said she wanted her parents to get married. Over 150 people were invited to this double celebration.

Juliza, Bogotá, November 2014 Juliza’s parents saved money for more than two years to bring together the five million pesos (1,800 euros) that cost them the "Quinceañera" of their daughter. While her father is a maintenance worker, her mother stays at home to take care of Juliza’s brothers and sisters. 140 people attended the party.Juliza wants to become a stewardess.
Juliza, Bogotá, November 2014
Juliza’s parents saved money for more than two years to bring together the five million pesos (1,800 euros) that cost them the “Quinceañera” of their daughter. While her father is a maintenance worker, her mother stays at home to take care of Juliza’s brothers and sisters. 140 people attended the party.Juliza wants to become a stewardess.

Natalia Salazar, Bogota, November 2014 Natalia spends most of her time alone. She was raised by her mother only who works every day at a shoe shop in the South of Bogota. Her fifteen birthday party was very simple with family and friends. Natalia wants to study medecine
Natalia Salazar, Bogota, November 2014
Natalia spends most of her time alone. She was raised by her mother only who works every day at a shoe shop in the South of Bogota. Her fifteen birthday party was very simple with family and friends. Natalia wants to study medecine

Maira Alejandra Acosta Lora, Bogota, November 2014 Maira 's parents wanted to provide an unforgettable party to their " princess " . After three months of preparation, they organized a party in the village hall in their neighborhood and invited more than 100 people. Maira chose the theme "sweet candy" for the theme of the party, because – as she explains -­‐ sweets are "sweet and delicate", just like her.
Maira Alejandra Acosta Lora, Bogota, November 2014
Maira ‘s parents wanted to provide an unforgettable party to their ” princess ” . After three months of preparation, they organized a party in the village hall in their neighborhood and invited more than 100 people. Maira chose the theme “sweet candy” for the theme of the party, because – as she explains -­‐ sweets are “sweet and delicate”, just like her.

Melany Forero, Bogotá, December 2014 Most important for Melany was celebrating his birthday with his family. It will keep the ceremony of change of shoes in memory. * 90 people were invited. Melany wants to become a stewardess.
Melany Forero, Bogotá, December 2014
Most important for Melany was celebrating his birthday with his family. It will keep the ceremony of change of shoes in memory. * 90 people were invited. Melany wants to become a stewardess.

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