The story behind the brand
Hi there! I'm Karina.
If you've been around for a while you know I'm a photographer that has a passion for sharing my Mexican culture with others through beautiful, ready-to-hang prints for your home. However, I'm ready to go a little deeper.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. My mother stayed home with my sister & I, and my father worked his hardest to provide a great life for us. He is a self-made entrepreneur and has pretty much taken classes to do just about anything. If he didn't know how to do something, he went to school to learn. He taught me that education and knowledge are my greatest assets, and that I should never stop learning.
While I'm obviously Mexican-American, it was always a tricky balance to be Mexican enough...but not too Mexican.
Can anyone relate? Spanish was my first language, and my father always pushed me to speak it as much as I could. On the other hand, in school it was treated like a game. As kids shouted out words in english they would make me teach them the Spanish word. Over, and over again.
Situations like this happened often.
I know there are more people like me, who were raised in a Mexican home, but were pushed into the American culture as soon as they walked out of the house. It's hard to balance both, but I want to share my journey now as I raise bi-racial kids and help them navigate and be proud of their cultures.
I am so thankful for my parents who gave everything for their children.
My father keeps on inspiring me with his desires to learn and grow, as well as his constant flow of generosity with everyone he meets. He truly sees the maximum potential in people, and will do anything to help bring that out in them.
My mother always made sure we worked to our fullest potential. She also built a safe home for us and encouraged us through every extra-curricular activity, and is now doing the same for my children.
These values are what I want to share and pass on. While I'm going to enjoy sharing about Mexican traditions, family vacations, I'm going to love passing down lessons, and encouraging others based on how I was raised.
My first encounter with racism was when I was 5. I was coming home on the bus from kindergarten. I had already found my seat, but the bus continued filling. A girl, a few years older came and sat down next to me. After a few seconds, she turns to me and asks, "Are you Mexican?" I nod my head yes. "Oh ok. My parents said I can't sit next to a Mexican," she said, as she got up to find another seat.
I realize that that kind of thinking starts in the home.
They learn from the examples around them. If I lead with kindness and love I know they will then treat others with kindness and love. I think it's so great for them to have my husband as an example of a white male who is supportive of who I am, with a humble, compassionate and understanding of his role in the world. He is able to help both my son and daughter navigate through life with a different perspective and awareness for the privilege they will have. Hopefully they will take both of our experiences and backgrounds to help advocate for others.
I never thought I would be a homeschool mom.
But here I am, the director of a homeschool community, talking to people for hours and hours about it. This is a part of my life that I tend to be more private about. I'll be completely honest and say that it's in some part because of guilt and shame.
The homeschool community from what I know is largely white. I always saw it as something privileged, conservative, pretentious families did. It's been a journey for me to even be able to talk about this openly.
When we had kids, my husband worked full-time, and I worked part-time as a wedding photographer. We still do. That means that I worked a lot of evenings and weekends. My husband works during the days. With that schedule, when the kids became school age, I would not see them very much due to our opposite schedules. That was the number one reason I decided to homeschool.
Now that I've been homeschooling for 4 years, I've come to appreciate it, and really feel like it's an amazing opportunity that gives us a huge amount of freedom as a family, but also for the kids to pursue their passions individually.
While I am a huge advocate for homeschooling, I also know that it's a privilege and not everyone has the same opportunities to do it. I think the most important part about having any sort of privilege is living through it with humility and responsibility. I hope my children use their education and talents to bless others.
I know I still have a lot of preconceived notions to work through as a homeschool type-A, public school raised mom, but I want this to be a platform to be honest about our journey and encourage others who are on the same path.
The arts weren't looked at as a career choice.
Who else can relate to parents wanting them to go for an MBA or to become a lawyer or a doctor. I'm sure parents always have the highest of hopes and the best intentions, but as soon as I discovered photography, and was able to build a business with it, I knew this was my path.
In the past year I've been wanting to shift the wedding photography business to something that gave me more flexibility with my schedule, and that also came from my heart. I communicate best with photographs and stories, so after going to Mexico for a workshop, I was energized and felt this responsibility to share my culture with the world. It's frustrating how Mexicans can be portrayed, especially when I grew up with such vibrant, relaxing, family-oriented, and beautiful experiences of Mexico and the people there. There are so many things in America that people don't realize have come from or at least been inspired by Mexico.
I want to travel Mexico telling it's story through pictures that can then be brought into the home as an encouragement, a conversation starter, and something that makes you feel like home.
As I take a deeper dive into my heritage I'll be bringing you and my family along for the ride. I'm excited for the conversations that will stem from this.
As I move from Karina Mora Prints to Karina Mora I want to share more of who I am, and connect with other people who have had the same experiences as me, or who are trying to find their way along as they raise bi-racial kids.
This is going to be an amazing time.
Thank you for reading this, and I'm excited to connect with you! Leave a comment below and let me know what resonates with you. And if you're in the Chicago area maybe we can hang over drinks...or if you're in Mexico, tell me where you're from so I can visit you!
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