As a self-proclaimed Selena Quintanilla historian, I have pretty much seen every video and picture that the Tejano singer has ever graced. There are exceptions, such as when a family member or friend releases a rare photo of the late singer. There’s also a select batch of images that are tightly protected by copyright law. Now, some of those photographs of Selena will be on public display for the very first time.
Photographer John Dyer will be exhibiting five images of Selena in a new show at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The exhibit titled Selena Forever/Siempre Selena will open this week on Jan. 15 and run through July 5.
‘The McNay pays tribute to 90s icon, singer, designer, and Texas legend — Selena Quintanilla-Pérez — with five photographs by award-winning San Antonio photographer John Dyer,” the museum statement reads. “Selena was the subject of Dyer’s photo assignments for the cover of Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995, just months before she was tragically killed at age 23.”
While the museum provides only one image that is part of this exhibition, Dyer’s photography website includes the photographs he took of Selena. I must admit, I had no idea some of these pictures even existed.
Some of these photographs capture Selena in rare form. The earlier shots taken in 1992 depict Selena in her signature black bedazzled bustier, red lipstick, and her captivating smile. The images that were taken just a couple of years later in 1995 before her tragic death are quite solemn. Her portrait is a serious one. And we see Selena in a meditative state, which is very rare.
In an interview with Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Dyer talked about his photoshoots with Selena. He said there was a difference in Selena between when he first took her picture in 1992 and the second time in 1995.
“She had just finished two exhausting days of shooting TV commercials for a corporate sponsor. She was tired,” Dyer said. “I had brought a beautiful hand-made jacket for her to wear. I posed her in the alcove on the mezzanine of the theater where the light is particularly nice. She was subdued and pensive. A far cry from the ebullient, excited young singer I’d photographed three years earlier. Later I thought her mood might have been an eerie harbinger of what was to come.”
For more information on this exhibit and to purchase tickets, click here.