Lining the colorful walls of the popular, art infused, Café Jumping Bean are the equally colorful and stylish photographs by local photographer Grizel Preciado. “You Are Beautiful,” is Preciado’s most recent photographic endeavor inspired by the everyday people in her life.

The collection of photographs, which Preciado describes as a type of life journal, depicts both her family and friends in tangible, yet sometimes anonymous settings. It’s a journal for sure, as it gives the sense of peeking into specific, personal moments of Preciado’s life, however, still managing to refrain from giving the moments up to their entirety. Images of a laughing girl, school children in a classroom, a traditional Day of the Dead altar, are all part of this collection, showcasing Preciado’s dynamic ability to catch the moment as it transpires.

The juxtaposition in Preciado’s photographs brilliantly captures what often would be overlooked as beautiful. The presence of an old, broken down shopping cart in one of her photographs, is as beautiful as the pristine, stylish dressed woman pushing it, giving the sense that everything is equal, everything is beautiful. The rest of her collection portrays the same theme, with a bit of ambiguity and mystery that makes each piece interesting and thought-provoking.

“When I look through my camera and capture the world and everyone in it, I want people who see my work to get the same feeling or better,” said Preciado. “I want people to read my photographs like poetry and feel it like music. It comes from my soul.”

The 23-year-old Pilsen native is no novice to the world of photography. She began her career in Chicago’s Gallery 37 program and from there went on to take classes at Harold Washington College, the University of California in San Diego and most recently at Columbia College. Her work has been featured in various galleries around Chicago, including a previous collection at Café Jumping Bean.

Preciado, like her work, continues to be imaginative. The passion for her artistry is emulated in each photograph she shoots and every source she encounters, making her a true innovator of her craft.

“You Are Beautiful” debuted on Nov. 12, 2010 and will be on display for one more week at Café Jumping Bean, 1439 W. 18th St

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