Since its inception, Las Fotos Project has mentored many girls who have gone on to graduate high school, attend college and embark in various life paths.
One of these young ladies is Dianna Martinez, who was an LFP student in Spring 2013. LFP helped Dianna strengthen her photography skills which she had previously simply considered a hobby but today identifies as part of who she is. In fact, after completing a semester with LFP, Dianna graduated high school and is currently a student at CalState LA; but, most importantly, Dianna chose to continue her involvement with LFP by choosing to volunteer as a mentor.
“As a student, I never imagined that I would be having students” myself; but, after having asked for the opportunity to mentor, she has gained confidence in her leadership abilities. “I am now the one who has to speak in front of the students and guide them along the photography process. As much as speaking sounds easy, it isn’t. It’s a skill developed.” Just as Dianna has challenged herself by taking on a leadership role, she encourages her students to do the same with their photography.
One of those students is 15 year old, Bridgette Alcaraz, whose goal is to study aerospace engineering and attend the University of Southern California. Through LFP, Bridgette has learned the technicalities of photography, which have helped her capture meaningful images of her community through a project called “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Boyle Heights”.
For Bridgette, “being a Latina photographer means opening new doors for girls” who are interested in learning and experiencing new subjects. In fact, she “highly recommends this program to girls who want to get to know the true meaning of photography.” From her personal experience with LFP, Bridgette has developed a good relationship with her mentors, who she identifies as “great and wonderful people!”
Having been a student herself, Dianna understands the importance of building strong mentor-student bonds. So, she has “created a friendship where we can talk and have fun but, at the same time, when it’s time to work, it gets done.” Through her time as a student of LFP, she gained enough experience, self-confidence and passion for the photography process as an empowerment tool. “I am now able to manage my own group of students and run with the program.”
Dianna hopes that her students appreciate the value of LFP and what it offers the community. “It is another branch in creating art through photography. Programs like these should be taken advantage of because you do not only grow individually, but also with the movement. What starts as an idea can be developed to become a reality and serve the community to become a greater one.”