City Rising: Documenting Gentrification and Cultural Displacement in Boyle Heights and South LA

Las Fotos Project Presents: City Rising, Youth Photo Exhibit
August 12 – September 9, 2017
2658 Pasadena Ave, Lincoln Heights, 90031

City Rising presents the work of 14 teenage girls documenting changes in their neighborhoods and the complexities of gentrification in Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles.

Both Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles have experienced an influx of new businesses and newcomers who are not only changing the urban landscape of these historic areas, but also are displacing immigrant and communities of color.

The images on this exhibit explore the similarities and differences between these two neighborhoods and the effect that these changes are having on the community.

A collaboration with KCET in support of KCET City Rising, a documentary exploring gentrification airing this September. Learn more

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Food Photography Workshop with Oriana Koren and Guisados

By: Ximena Gaytan, age 13

“Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!” everyone said.  After eating tacos from Guisados, the girls from Las Fotos Project were told that they had an assignment.  This assignment was to photograph the tacos in different moods.  Continue reading

MakerSpace in Summer

By Sabinah Lopez, age 16

We started class with Julian, our makerspace workshop leader. The first activity was a warm-up that was about your own perspectives and perspectives of others. We had to color a sheet of paper and cover all the white parts, which seemed nearly impossible. Julian told us to find at least 5 shapes or images and we then switched to do the same with our partner’s paper. For the second activity, Julian asked us where, what, and who makes us feel happy and supported. The project was to use colors that coordinated with what makes you happy and paint them where you feel them.   Continue reading

Our trip to the LA River

By: Melanie Nava, age 12

My trip to the LA River was a great experience! I learned so much and took pictures of everything I saw.  The LA River is beautiful and fascinating.  My classmates and I had a really great time taking pictures of the river’s plants, animals, and people.  I loved taking close-up shots of the leaves, the water, and all of the nature around me.  I was so eager to get there, that by the time we got there, I had already taken so many photos.  When I walked down to the river, I immediately started taking photos of the rocks and of my classmates. I was also able to see the excitement in their eyes.  The river running through the rocks was so loud and incredible.   Continue reading

Our trip to The Container Yard

By: Celeste Umaña, age 12

The word ‘thrill’ is defined in the dictionary as, “a sudden feeling of excitement or pleasure,” but for me (and maybe any other person who has been a street artist for at least a day) ‘thrill’ is an emotion that consumes almost every part of your body when you’re out being a street artist.  The constant feeling of adrenaline and a little bit of fear or worry is what drives you to work, and to work quick.  Anything can be a canvas, from the tiniest rock to say maybe, a container.  Yes, containers.  The Container Yard is an extraordinary sight with so much color, sound, and life to it.  It’s exactly what it sounds like, a large space with massive containers, but there is so much more to it.   Continue reading

LACMA Sessions by Metztli Garcia

I recently had my last session visiting the LACMA photography archive with my fellow Las Fotos Project classmates Textli, Regina, and Natalia, and mentor Kristin. Throughout my entire experience at LACMA I realized what a great opportunity it was to learn about other photographers and be inspired by them.

Before going to LACMA I never knew much about museums. I always thought they were boring, but after looking at the LACMA archives I have come to love them! Once I learned the stories and reasons behind each picture, it changed my entire mindset. The stories and background of the artists helped me understand and feel part of their photographic experience.

I was inspired Julian Wasser’s photo titled Watts Riots. The photo depicts a police officer pointing his gun at people lying on the ground. Pictures like these are important because they have a purpose and a story. It’s vital to document events that mark important parts of our history.

“Watts Riots,” Julian Wasser

I was also inspired by four photos taken by Max Yavno in the place I come from: East Los Angeles. I felt a real connection with the photographs. These images were not only beautiful, but each evoked a new emotion in me.

After seeing a variety of different photographers and their unique styles, it has helped me decide what style of photography I would like to pursue in the future. I have learned to love portraits and street photography, I feel like those images evoke the greatest emotions in a person. With one picture, a million connections and stories, feelings and interpretations, can be made. And that’s just the beauty of photography.

LACMA Sessions by Natalia Angeles

These past four sessions at the LACMA photography archive with Sarah Newby have been amazing and unforgettable. I got to share this experience with wonderful women – Metztli, Textli, Regina and Kristin. I talked to my mom about each photo I saw at the museum. I would tell her that every photo I got to see up close was so detailed and inspirational. I shared with her that seeing all these pictures helped me realize the type of photographs I want to make.

I would describe my experience as monumental. Why? Because every session had different artists and different perspectives on their subjects; every photo spoke to me as well as the quotes we were given to read aloud by the amazing photographers. One image that really caught my attention was an image taken by Max Yavno in 1946 titled “Two Women.” It is of two beautiful women standing outside a barbershop smiling and having a conversation. The image is framed really well and it inspires me to try and capture the “decisive moment” that Henri Cartier-Bresson describes.

“Two Women,” Max Yavno

The photographs I got to see every month made me feel both refreshed and like I had butterflies in my stomach. The images made me feel refreshed because I wasn’t used to seeing such great photos taken with a film camera. Every photo made me feel like I was actually living the story the photographer was trying to say. I am extremely thankful to be part of this experience.

Feminist Uprising Exhibition Open Hours

LACMA Sessions by Textli Gallegos

“Mirror Ball,” Anne Collier

Every month a few of us and our mentor Kristin have the opportunity to go to LACMA to view photo archives. Each time we go, we view a different theme. On April 28, 2017, we saw photos that all fell under the theme of self-portraits. It was really inspiring and amazing. One of my favorite photos was Mirror Ball by Anne Collier. It’s a photo of a disco ball with fragments of Anne Collier’s reflection looking back at us. It portrayed the message of scatteredness and unbalance. As if something was off and she wasn’t fully in her right mind. It was so interesting to me that she decided to show that side of her.

Taking a self-portrait is all about showing who you are and being vulnerable. Photographer Anne Collier did just that, and to that, I applaud her. I have never seen this photo prior to my visit. In fact, I had never seen any of the photos we looked at. I think that it was really important and valuable for us to have seen all these self-portraits so that we can become inspired. We all just got done creating our own self-portraits and exhibiting them. Seeing these photos gave me different ideas of things I can do for my next projects. Continue reading

LACMA Sessions by Regina Zamarripa

During our last trip to the LACMA on March 31st, 2017, my mentor Kristin and fellow mentees Natalia, Metztli and Textli dove deep into fifteen images from the archives that were made by female photographers. All of the images were new to me with the exception of the image by Diane Arbus. I enjoyed looking at them and holding a dialogue on their possible hidden or not so hidden meanings. I learned that female photographers have been challenging the mostly male dominated field since the beginning, which to me is powerful because it proves that photography is for those who want to convey the world that they experience, regardless of class and gender.

“Self Portrait in the Mirror at the Lodge, Belmont, MA,” Nan Goldin

My favorite image was Self-Portrait in the Mirror at the Lodge by Nan Goldin. This image was my favorite because it was truthful and I really connected with it on a personal level. For the most part each image made me feel a unique way. Some of the images like Diane Arbus’ Russian Midget Friends in a Living Room on 100th Street, NYC made me feel curiosity, while the image The Hispanic Project by Nikki S. Lee slightly frustrated me as I felt it was culturally appropriating Latino culture without showcasing appreciation.

Other images such as Imogen Cunningham and Twinka, Yosemite and Nude with Hat Shadows sparked the conversation on how nudity in images doesn’t have to showcase a provocative vibe. Women photographers can celebrate the female anatomy and not dehumanize and objectify it, as may be the case with some male photographers.