Before becoming a documentary photographer and photojournalist, Cinthya Santos Briones studied anthropology and ethnohistory, which led her to work as a researcher at different institutions in Mexico, focused on the study of indigenous and rural communities. Her interest in documentary photography emerged through the ethnographic work she has done as an anthropologist in the indigenous communities of Mexico. She has documented ceremonial and healing rituals, immigration, and the new transnational lives of migrants in New York.
Since then, her work has been influenced by the struggle for human rights, focusing on issues of migration, gender, and identity. The complex relationship between homeland, immigration, memory, and self-representation has been at the center of her work.
Cinthya graduated from the Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
In the autumn of 2016, she received a fellowship grant from the Magnum Foundation, and an En Foco photography fellowship in 2017. Cinthya has published her work in The New York Times, PDN, La Jornada, The California Sunday Magazine, VOGUE, Open Society Foundations, BuzzFeed, The Nation Magazine, among others. She was twice a fellow of the State Fund for Culture and the Arts of México (FONCA).
In 2018, Cinthya became a grantee of the Magnum Foundation, and of National Geographic, with the project: Ethnographic Mosaic of Migrant Children Experiences in the Americas. Cinthya has worked in pro-immigrant organizations in New York as a community organizer, and as an adjunct faculty at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. She is co-author of the book The Indigenous Worldview and its Representations in Textiles of the Nahua community of Santa Ana Tzacuala, Hidalgo.