BDC Volunteer Spotlight: Marianela Villao

BDC Volunteer Spotlight: Marianela Villao


For this month’s BDC Volunteer Spotlight, we spoke with Marianela Villao to learn about her experiences, inspirations, and more. The BDC couldn’t do all that it does without the generous efforts of our dynamic team of volunteers. They provide support for many of our programs and events— from exhibitions to street fairs to film screenings and other public programs.

You can make a tangible difference in helping the BDC be a force for championing documentary photography and journalism and advancing cultural equity. Opportunities throughout the year can include anything from tabling events to installing and gallery shows, and so much more. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please fill out the application here.

Thank you for everything Marianela!

Q: Do you remember your first real connection with photography, either an image or a camera or something else?
My first real connection with photography began when I was little. My dad would always take photographs of me growing up. Seeing him being able to capture these meaningful moments inspired me to do the same.

Q: Can you tell us about one of your favorite experiences at the BDC?
My favorite experience at the BDC is the annual LAFF (Latin American Foto Festival) which provides me with a sense of community and exposure to diverse photographic styles and perspectives of the global south. 

Q: What are some of your favorite photographers, photobooks, or photo projects?
There are so many favorites, but I am a big fan of Lauren Greenfield, Joseph Rodriguez, and Wendy Red Star. I love photographers who are able to teach me about new cultures and raise concern for social issues. 

Q: How has working at the BDC impacted you or your own work?
BDC has impacted me by helping me explore new avenues and providing opportunities to try something new in photography. Being part of a creative community and having access to different sources of inspiration has been enriching for my artistic development.