Digital Promotoras: Action

The Las Fotos Project students of the Digital Promotoras: Action class employed a variety of storytelling techniques to spark change and calls to action. Through photojournalism, portraiture, and editorial layouts, the students provided their point of view and took a stance on issues that matter to them.

Some students documented their neighborhoods’ signage, murals, houseless population, gentrification, public transportation, and other public spaces to reflect on how they are used by local businesses, redevelopers, street vendors, and community members. Other students gave light to invisible or quiet issues like mental health, depression, eating disorders. Some photographs capture body politics, concepts of beauty, and gender roles. The students bravely commented on important topics that affect society, and the entire world, hoping to increase human connectedness and continue fighting for tolerance, social justice, and equity.

These Digital Promotoras are young students, artists, activists, and advocates for the causes they care about. Their individual works are not only visually captivating, but they also serve a greater purpose to provide a sense of urgency. They ask their viewers to reflect on their privilege, daily habits, and relationships with others and their surroundings.

TEACHING ARTIST
Leah Hubbard

MENTORS
Alicia Ramirez
Brittany Bravo
Leah Choi
Nicole Maturo
Salina Canizalez
Stella Chung
Tammie Valer

Andrea Aguilar

About Me:
Over the years I have been known as a shy person with people I don’t really know, but after the beauty pageant I took part in to raise money for people in Mexico, I broke out of my shell. I love to watch anime and sometimes draw out the characters. Documentaries also hold a special place in my heart because they teach me beyond what school teaches me. I also really enjoy looking at the sky when the clouds look soft and the colors dance around them. The beach brings me so much comfort and it’s been my second home since I got here.

I am very passionate about school, more specifically math. I am a strong supporter of young activism and I try to educate those who have little to no knowledge on world issues. Music has had a huge impact in my life and I also see that as art because it’s the opposite of a picture; you are told a story and you paint the picture. I love spending time with my loved one especially when we go on hikes!

About my project: #WhatsYourLA

Reach for the Stars.
“I dreamt recently
that a girl fell from the top of
a skyscraper so tall
by the time she collided with
the concrete below,
they had already told her
she would not make it.”
S Kim Nguyen, March 8.

The one with the tall building and the man. The buildings stand tall and proud. The sun kisses your skin as you take a walk around the city. What is not to love about it?

Diamonds Dancing. The camera flashes our eyes and keeps us from looking at the real picture. Downtown LA has been my home for the last 13 years of my life, but it does not feel the same anymore.

Where are you? From city to city, state to state, gentrification grows and grows. With the rise of the pandemic economic issues come with it. More and more people are losing their place and their memories. The love I have for my city is unexplainable, but there is no love when the city I grew up in has changed, and the community has no love.

The City of Angeles. To live and die in LA.

Unseen Truth. “Los Angeles and Los Angeles County ranked No. 2 for the highest number of people (7,876) experiencing family homelessness. More than 1 in 5 people experiencing homelessness in 2018 were either in New York City or Los Angeles.” (US News, 2019). This is overlooked, but why? Why is it that we choose to drop thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to rebuild and remodel places that don’t need that remodeling? Why is it that people only choose to see the beauty and not the madness?

Childhood. This is Los Angeles for me. This is what I think of when I hear the name of my city. Luxury was found in the Santee Alley streets and not the new Downtown Los Angeles.

Home. As the years go by, the home we are used to gets taken away from us. We are Los Angeles, the city of broken angels. No one is safe from the new Los Angeles. No one is safe when money comes around.

Round Trip. Stay here for a day or a night. Stay here for five minutes or five years. There is no turning back; you’ll love it here.

Los Angeles Street. The beauty and aesthetic of the streets of Los Angeles— where you can pose with your overpriced coffee and forget about the gentrification.

Point of View 1. When taking these images, I had my main focus on creating grim and gray emotions throughout the photo.

Be Me 2. I felt that being able to look up to parents from a different perspective and a standpoint of that they don’t feel constricted to their gender identity, we can inspire my family members and have someone they can feel they can look up too.

Point of View 2. I wanted to showcase how empty will could feel on not being able to live up to the standards of what everyone expects us to be, and the confusion on yourself on gender identity can affect your wellbeing and mental health.

Be Me 1. For these images, I had my parents dress as one another and pose for pictures. I was so surprised at how much they loved the experience.

Point of View 3. Capturing the emotion of the dissatisfaction of not seeing who you feel to be, and the isolation of being unable to express yourself freely.

Be Me 3.

Roles Reversed 1. These shots are an expression of the what-ifs. By having my parents switch roles, I wanted to showcase how our gender identity doesn’t constrict to just what others expect us to be.

Roles Reversed 2. I’ve never been personally affected by these restrictions, but I have witnessed many of my friends and family experience so much unnecessary confusion from others pushing their ideas onto them.

Eyes of the Beholder 1. With these pictures, I had used my brother and covered his pictures with cut-out pictures of magazines. My inspiration was to show the comparison we make with everyone we see in our lives.

Eyes of the Beholder 2. We compare ourselves to each other, people on social media, movie characters and so much more. We break down ourselves into this “perfect” image or what we want to be, to satisfy ourselves and to gain validation from others. We confuse ourselves with who we are.

Eztli de Jesus

About Me:
Hi! I am 14 years old. I love to dance and want to be an actress in the future. I can be very shy at first but eventually after some time, I will open up to you.
I love to help others and be there for my friends when they need me. I have always been inspired by my mom because she is an amazing woman of color, always fighting for equality, has gone through so much trauma, and is just so strong. I am very friendly and supportive towards everyone. This is my first time doing photography and I am so excited to learn as much as I possibly can.

About my Project:
#COVIDMentalHealthDiaries
For my last photo project, I chose the topic of mental health during this worldwide pandemic. I chose this topic because I know that I and lots of others have been struggling with our mental health and having to quarantine and do everything virtually. I hope my audience experiences joy and curiosity when reading about my work and looking at my photos. I hope that they remember how important it is to do things to take care of your mental health, especially in these difficult times. Your mental health matters!! I have learned so much during the making of this project. One of those main things is learning the different ways that people in my family take care of their mental health. I have learned different ways to capture a story in photos and how to work a camera too!  

The Joy of Plants, 1. This photograph was taken on Día de Los Muertos. I asked my mom if she could sit on our porch and hold her flowers for me. My mom loves flowers and plants because they bring her joy! Taking care of her plants helps distract herself from stress throughout the days.

The Beauty of Books, 1. I have recently gotten back into reading during the quarantine. I have discovered that reading is one of my favorite things to do. I have read about 12 books since we have headed back into school. Reading is my way of keeping my mental health healthy because I escape into a world of beautiful words and images and can relax.

The Joy of Plants, 2. When I took this photo, I tried to capture a moment of proudness and joy. The woman in this photo is my mother, who loves to grow her plants. It brings her joy, especially during these times. When she showed me the roots that had grown she said, “The roots are a revolutionary act because gardening makes me feel free.”

The Beauty of Books, 2. As well as myself, my 9-year-old brother and little cousin like to read! They love comics and books with drawings! I love seeing them laugh at what they’re reading because they look so happy, and I know the feeling of experiencing joy through books.

The Joy of Plants, 3. His beautiful woman is a family friend, Martha. She started her little garden in the beginning of quarantine and now it has grown so big! She has grown some of her food now, and is holding up one of her squashes. Gardening is a new hobby she has discovered that helps her release anxiety and stress.

Misa Amane Cosplay. This is my cousin Matoi! (Their pronouns are they/them.) They love to cosplay, and I had a mini photo shoot with them. They love cosplaying because it makes them feel safe and free. This is their way of relieving stress and anxiety and a way for them to express themselves. I think that’s beautiful!

Abuelita and Her Garden. My grandmother loves to visit her garden in our family’s backyard. Even during the pandemic because her garden is a part of her. I took this picture when she stopped by early in the morning to water her plants.

Martha and Her Squash. When my mother and I went over to our family friend Martha’s house, we exchanged plants and got to pick some squash! Growing her garden is something that Martha has begun since the pandemic started to spend her time and keep her mental health and herself healthy.

A Day for a Walk. My dad, brother, and I went on a walk this day just so that we could go out into the fresh air and get out of the house. Even though our trips to the park aren’t the same as before the pandemic, we still like to go out for walks with our masks on through the park. It feels great to be outside instead of in front of our computers and screens. It’s a stress reliever.

6-feet-apart Visits! The girl in this picture is my friend Hannah! She stopped by to visit me. We talked while socially distancing ourselves. It helped me feel a bit less alone during these times to see a friend. We laughed, and it felt great, especially after not seeing any friends after so long!!

Beauty Salons in the Pandemic. Lynda’s Nail Salon. October 2020. Lucy is working for the first time since quarantine started. Her business partners Nancy and Helen had not returned because they were vulnerable. Lucy was able to keep her shop open for 6 weeks before closing down again.

Large Chains Continue to Prosper. Trader Joe’s. October 2020 While small businesses struggle, grocery store chain, Trader Joe’s continues to succeed with a line of customers out their doors.

Floral Art by Mia. October 2020. Although business is slow, Mia tries to keep busy by tending to her shop. She has discounted a majority of her plants in hopes to attract potential customers.

Farmworkers in the Pandemic. Delano Farm, CA. November 2020 Despite the conditions and the pandemic, farmworkers continue to feed us.

Raffalo’s Pizza. October 2020. Before the pandemic, Raffalo’s used to be located at Fountain but unfortunately their building burnt down so they moved to Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles. Now with the pandemic, they are struggling even more to get back on their feet. Here, we see two customers dining outdoors abiding to the COVID dining restrictions.

1739 Public House Restaurant. November 2020. The restaurant employee is setting up the outdoor dining tables as part of the COVID dining restrictions which don’t allow indoor dining.

Eduardo Salazar. 1739 Public House. November 2020. I had interviewed Eduardo, who is a worker at 1739 Public House, and asked him how the pandemic impacted him personally. “The pandemic has affected everyone who works in a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or any small businesses. Before coronavirus, I had a normal life, now I can’t even see my family, work, or do anything. There is nobody working and money is going down the drain. The funny part is that the restaurant I work at is closed but, the bill keeps coming. We need to pay rent, pay our food, pay our bills, insurance, and everything else. I don’t know how we’re going to survive this pandemic.”

Delano Farm’s Foreman. Delano Farm, CA. November 2020. I interviewed one of the foremen and asked who had been most impacted by COVID-19. Translated from Spanish: “Especially parents because of their children. There are people who did not come to work all season because there was no one to take care of the children since the daycares were closed. It affected that, and people who did not come out of fear, and sick people who had other kinds of problems, making them the most vulnerable. Economically, we were also most affected because many of these people did not receive incentives since they do not have papers, but here they are working.”

Talking to the Workers. Delano Farm, CA. November 2020. At the farm, I had met Modesta and Lucia who were close friends. Modesta, (on the left) had stated that she doesn’t receive much company working in the field, and that is why she was grateful to see new faces and meet new people. Lucia, on the other hand, explained to me how she wanted her kids to learn English but with classes online, this became difficult to do.

Picking Grapes. Delano Farm, CA. November, 2020. Is there anything else you’d like others to know? Translated from Spanish: “Look, once a group of people came with big cameras to make films and they began to interview me. I told them that the only thing I would like is for this to reach the governors so that they see how we work in the fields, and how hard they work to bring food to the stores. In the oranges, everything citrus, and all agricultural work so that they see who really works because here it’s about the time, the dust, and the chemicals. They are exposed to everything and are the ones who are the ones least taken into account.”

Kayla Jackson

About Me:
Hola! I am a 16-year-old artist living in Los Angeles and tackling my junior year at Culver City High School. Growing up in an urban community has both taught and inspired me. Through my work, I try to uplift hidden or misrepresented aspects of history and show their lingering impacts on our current culture. I am an activist at heart and love sharing stories through multiple visual mediums. My work attempts to document all aspects of life in Los Angeles, from the streets to museums and spaces with great sentimental value to me. I hope to continue expressing myself through art and find a career that allows me the space to do that.

About my Project:
#OwnTheChange

This series of photos focuses on gentrification — specifically in the View Park/Hyde Park area. Gentrification is a highly contentious process that often changes the character of a neighborhood by bringing in more affluent residents and displacing the lower-income residents who have lived there, often for generations, due to increases in the cost of living. I chose this subject because I live in an area that’s in the process of being gentrified. Seeing my culture-rich community change into a place that no longer seems to have space for our street vendors and independent businesses is a heartbreaking experience. This project is a love letter to my home, and I hope viewers walk away being more aware of what we lose when communities are gentrified.

Coming Home to Leimert. Nestled at the foot of Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park remains one of the few areas in Los Angeles where African Americans make up a significant majority of the population. The mainly residential community was developed in the 1920s and, as of 2008, was home to more than 12,000 residents, according to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. The community’s population, outside of being nearly 80% African American, also tends to be older and less wealthy than the rest of Los Angeles County.

Batson’s Fine Laundering & Dry Cleaning. Operated in the area for more than a century before closing last year. Former owner Sammy Spera said in an interview with Cleaner & Launderer that he decided to retire due to rising costs of running the business and declining revenues. His is just one of many independent businesses that have closed in recent years.

The House on Long Street. This single-family home was built in 1946, according to property records, and is similar to others in the South Los Angeles area. But, with property values skyrocketing as new stadiums and businesses come into the area, several residents are struggling to stay in their homes. According to a 2018 UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Study, the average home price in the South L.A. area is triple what it was in 1960 when adjusted for inflation.

The Community’s Super Hero Street Vendor. And it’s not just businesses with storefronts that have been impacted in recent years. Street vendors, who are members of the community in their own right, have also seen declining sales and rising expenses — driving many to find other locations to sell their wares or stopping their business altogether.

Carniceria La Chiquita. For more than two decades, a husband and wife team has been running this taqueria. Despite rising property and business taxes, and the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple says they will continue feeding locals from their shop.

Woman of the Community. Janet, my mother, bought a home in the area in 2009. Throughout the past 11 years, she has seen firsthand how our neighborhood has changed. My mother said, while she’s happy money is being invested into the community, she’s upset about the lack of thought that has gone into the renovation projects, such as the new Metro Los Angeles stop, which is being built above ground. She believes that those living in the community should have more of a say in changes before they are made.

Future Martin Luther King Jr. Station. Metro Los Angeles is creating a new train stop in the area, part of the city’s new Crenshaw/LAX light rail line. While community members are happy to have another mode of transportation, many worry about the possibility of further gentrification and displacement and wonder if the decision was made with the community’s best interest in mind.

The Construction Begins. Construction workers have started street and sidewalk rehabilitation projects across the street from the new station. While the community is happy the work is being done, they contend it should not have taken the promise of a new train station and increased foot traffic to provide residents safe and walkable sidewalks and roads free of potholes.

Notice of Public Hearing. With all of the work done in the community, signs like these have become more and more common as future construction continues to move forward at an alarming pace. For each of these signs, and subsequent meetings, discussing the next multimillion-dollar project, residents wonder how much longer they’ll be able to afford to stay.

The Community Fights Back. Despite the changes being forced upon the community, those who live here refuse to go down without a fight for what matters to them— their neighbors. While residents are always happy to see investment in the area, they don’t want those investments done without support to make sure people aren’t pushed out of their homes.

Marlene Cach

About Me:
I am currently a senior, preparing for college. I live in a humble home with my parents and I am a Latina. Being Latina is hard in America especially when we don’t have enough justice. I am an activist, my passion is to help people get justice. I am not an artist, but I do love it when people show their artwork they always have a deep meaning to their lives or any meaning. I am a hard-working student who strives for knowledge because knowledge is power. I want to gain experience to become a better leader as I grow. For me I work hard to get where I am, it’s not easy but it pays off in the end. I also love to work with people from different backgrounds because I love to connect with them or learn more from them.

About my Project:
#HardWorkingStreetVendors
In this project, I was able to connect with street vendors and appreciate their hard work. I hope that my audience gets to appreciate the hard work these street vendors put into their lives. I learned that many street vendors put their time and effort to get customers and reach their goals.

Pushing Through the Day. “Every weekend I have to wake up at 2 am to get the parking spot, sometimes I get really tired, but I still push through the day” – Santos

The Unexpected Days. Sometimes there are days where there are a lot of people who shop. Other days there are only a few people. My mother waits all day long.

Street Vendors. They are sweet and hard-working people I know because they put their time and effort to attract people to what they sell.

One Small Street. There was a swap meet right in front of LACC. Unfortunately, it was shut-down due to COVID-19. It has impacted street vendors who always sell in the street because they had to give up their spots for the new street vendors that used to be part of the swap meet. Ever since then, the street is always crowded.

Standing Out. Most street vendors sell all kinds of stuff like food, water, accessories, etc.

McKenna Blackshire

About Me:
I am a multi-cultural, Queer woman who lives in Los Angeles, California, with my mom who inspires me greatly. My passions include art and activism. I’ve been heavily involved in social justice and identity-based work for the majority of my life. In the last couple of years, I’ve participated in school leadership groups promoting equity and tolerance, and I’ve worked with organizations such as New Ground and Seeds of Peace. I’m currently a peer advocate for Planned Parenthood, working on a video series I created called We Look Like This, acting as a film writer for an online publication called Unpublished Zine, and running my school’s Cinema Club. In the future, I hope to head East and become a filmmaker. I want to create stories grounded in authenticity that celebrate all the little things that make us who we are, as well as all the things that connect us as human beings.

About my Project:
#WeLookLikeThis
I am focusing on intersectional identities, specifically how we represent the various components of our identities through our appearances. There aren’t many authentic portrayals of individuals from marginalized communities in any aspect of our society, but especially within art. So, with my photography, I wanted to capture women of color as they simply exist, because our lives are a testament to resilience and we are brimming with potential. I want my audience to feel a connection to my photos in a very simple human sense — each of us have things, whether it be the shape of our nose or a piece of jewelry, that make us who we are. There is so much importance in the recognition that there is so much beauty in both everything that makes us different and everything that makes us similar.

Maribélla Muñoz-Jimenez, 1. Victory Park, October, 2020. “I love my cultures’ music and food as well as the sense of community it offers.”

Kaylee Young, 1. Memorial Park, November, 2020. “One thing I absolutely admire about my culture is the sense of community. Even though I don’t get to see my family very often, I always feel connected to them through our culture.”

Maribélla Muñoz-Jimenez, 2. Victory Park, October, 2020. Maribélla is Latina-American with family from Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico. When asked what she felt physically represented her culture, she explained the color red and hoop-earrings seemed to be the perfect testament to her heritage.

Kaylee Young, 2. Memorial Park, November, 2020. “I believe diverse representation is so so important because intersectionality is everywhere and we need to understand that people have a lot of overlapping similarities.”

Maribélla Muñoz-Jimenez, 3. Victory Park, October, 2020. “There can’t be a “cookie-cutter” representation of any single culture — a culture is a group of different people, not just one individual.”

Kaylee Young, 3. Memorial Park, November, 2020. Women of Color are often made to feel as though we cannot express our emotions without judgment. Furthermore, in many of our cultures, we are taught women must be submissive and neutral. With Kaylee, I hoped to capture an honest variety of emotions in response to such a notion.

Bailey Dickinson, 1. Victory Park, October, 2020. “Since my mom and my aunt grew up in the United States and I’m biracial, we don’t feel very connected to our Korean culture overall. However, I really love how food, more specifically, Korean BBQ, brings my family closer together and connects us to our roots.”

Bailey Dickinson, 2. Victory Park, October, 2020. Bayley is African-American and Korean-American. When asked what she felt physically represented her culture, she described her hair as the most distinctive representation of her cultural identity.

Bailey Dickinson, 3. Victory Park, October, 2020. “I believe diverse representation is important because it not only offers new perspectives but also inspires the voices of the oppressed.”

Mia
Peña

About Me:
I am a 15-year-old junior at Gertz Ressler High School in Los Angeles who loves art and photography. My work is influenced by a desire to inform and spread awareness about societal issues and effect change in my community. My dream is to become a photographer for National Geographic and share photos from around the world. I also want to start my own business — though I’m not sure what kind of business because I am passionate about many things — and be able to contribute to society.
And while I can be a bit shy when first meeting people, I am very outspoken and love to learn and share ideas with other people. I am inspired by my older sister to continue working toward my goals and being a strong, independent woman, and am proud of the work I have done at my school — including the creation of our yearbook. I joined the Las Fotos Project in an effort to improve my skills as a photographer and better understand how to create compelling messages through still images.

About My Project:
Through these photographs, I am aiming to show the financial burden placed on women to exist comfortably in the world — from beauty and wellness to essential feminine hygiene products. I want my viewers to come away from the project with a better understanding of how much effort, money, and time goes into the simple act of existing as a woman. I want viewers to be compelled to connect with and support women — many of whom struggle to afford medically essential feminine hygiene products — by pushing for increased free access to these products in public places. If you’d like to help make feminine hygiene products more accessible to women in California, please add your name to this petition: http://chng.it/ytg2w4CYKM

Decisions, Decisions. For teens like Aroche, staying on top of the latest trends is more than a desire — it’s a crucial part of feeling accepted. The options for women’s clothing are limitless and always changing, making choosing the perfect outfit an often time-consuming process.

Halfway Ready. Aroche stares at her complexion after finishing her skincare routine. And while her face is cleaned, moisturized, and protected from the sun, she is still not quite ready to go out in public.

Pink Tax. Studies show that products, even those used by all genders, cost more if they are the color pink — a color traditionally meant for girls and women. And while women might prefer certain skincare brands, those that have male equivalents still tend to charge women more.

What to choose? She now has to choose an outfit from her closet. But even this is a task. She not only has to make sure that the outfit she chooses is comfortable but also makes her feel good about herself.

I’m Running Out. Valeria Aroche, 14, faces the same struggles of most other teen girls — periods, acne, and finding the perfect outfit. For her, skincare products are a necessity to feel like she is putting her best face forward.

Almost Ready. But it’s not just the purchasing of these products themselves. It’s the items you need to use those products. From cotton swabs and pads to makeup applicators, tweezers, and eyelash curlers, the cost of application is almost as much as the products themselves.

Move Out The Way. For women in society, there is an expectation that they are presentable at all times. From face and body cleansers to pads and tampons, the number of products women need to live in our society has skyrocketed over the years. And while the products women use might seem excessive compared to those used by men, men are not under the constant pressure to always look their best.

Always. For many women, the sheer number of options for feminine hygiene products can be overwhelming. All of the pads — ultimately designed to more comfortably allow women to participate in society while menstruating — come at different price points and provide huge profits for the companies that make them. And, despite being a medically necessary product, pads and tampons are still taxed as regular retail items adding to the expense for women.

Check-Out. Aroche, while at the store for feminine hygiene products, also realized that she needed more skincare products with hers running out. And while men are often able to get away with one product, women are generally unable to be that carefree due to hormonal changes that impact their skin differently — an experience they’d likely want to check-out of if they could.

The Cost of Being a Woman. All women are beautiful and incredible in their own right — something nobody can take away from them. But the cost and time it takes for women to feel like they’re comfortable, cared for, and presentable is something that not everyone understands. Aroche hopes that as she gets older, it will be easier for women to be themselves.

Nayzeth Madrigal

About Me:
I am Hispanic and I’m 14 years old. I live in Lincoln Heights with my parents and my two siblings. My future goal is to go to college and help my little brother with his future studies. The way I would describe my photography to a stranger is that it may be graphic and kind of rated R. What I like about being a photographer is the process of taking the photograph because I normally have an ideal picture I want to shoot. After taking a few ideal photographs, I go with the flow and add new ideas. I make art because it tells a story without using words. My current goal with Las Fotos is to help others understand and not to disrespect mental health. This sensitive topic is important because I have been in contact with multiple people with mental illness and I didn’t know how to help them.

About my Project:
#LetsTalkMentalHealth (CW: depression, medication, addiction, eating disorders)
My topic is mental health. I’m covering most of the different types of depression, etc. I wanted to show that there are many types of mental disorders and what they mean. I think this topic is important because mental illness is common, and lots of people are shy to speak out and talk about it. People should care about this topic because he plays a big part in some people’s lives. What I learned about this topic was that everyone has a different type of symptom to mental health. Also, so many types of reactions, and there are so many lifelong treatments for this illness. I want people to view my images to feel ok that this what is happening and it common. I want people to come out and tell me about their experience with mental health. The action I want to take is to help people understand it more and to people aware that mental health is a big part of society.

I’m Fine. What is depression? Depression is a disorder that causes one to feel sad and feel like losing interest in the world. This disorder usually requires long term treatment. Most people with this disorder might seek therapy/psychotherapy to learn how to deal with depression and feel better.

PTSD. What is post-traumatic stress disorder? This is a disorder caused by a traumatizing experience. Its acronym is PTSD— PTSD can last months or years. The symptoms of PTSD is a nightmare or flashbacks of the experience. The disorder includes anxiety and depression and heightened reactions.

The Fear of Food.  What is Anorexia Nervosa? Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder where someone fears gaining weight. This photo shows what someone diagnosed with this Anorexia Nervosa might face when planning to eat – reading calories and nutrition information.

Nothing is There. Depression symptoms are very different for everyone. Depression can be scary and overwhelming. Some people self-medicate, or as shown in the photo, people with this disorder might self-harm themself. If feeling down and might risk of self-harm, please call the suicide hotline (800)273-8255

I want to be skinny I want to be PERFECT.  Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder of people who are in fear of gaining weight. People with this specific illness are below healthy weight. People with this illness usually check all food calories to make sure it’s not a lot of calories. Another related disorder is Bulimia Nervosa. This disorder can be dangerous(life-threatening). Bulimia nervosa is a mental illness unwarranted fear of gain weight.

I Think I’m Lost. Most of the time, some disorders like depression and bipolar make you feel lost in the world. Feel so far from reality. It’s like being in a dark corner.

I’m Lost Forever. What is bipolar depression? This disorder is a lifetime condition. This condition caused the patients to feel mood swings. Like for example, people with this condition can go from feeling so hopeful to feeling hopeless very quickly.

Pills Are Everywhere I See. People with mental illness may be able to improve their condition with prescribed medication. With all disorders, it can often get overwhelming to take many prescribed pills every day. If you or someone you know gets overwhelmed instead of taking your medication, make sure someone can help you get and take the pills.

I Just Can’t At Times. What is bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is formally called manic depression. The effect of this illness is mood swings, also adding emotional highs and lows. Also reducing sleep and loss of touch in reality. When realizing Patients with this illness using the treatment, most of the treatment is lifelong. If someone you love is going through this visit, https://dmh.lacounty.gov/get-help-now/

Temporarily. Depression, anxiety, and stress can cause you to feel poorly. Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs might help us feel better but temporarily. Self-medicating is often harmful and can cause future health problems.

Sawyer Sarinana

About Me:
Hi! My name is Sawyer (she/her). I’m 13 years old, a 9th grader, born and raised in Echo Park. From a young age, I’ve had a love for reading and stories— no matter where I was, I always had a book by my side. Starting journalism and later photography allowed me to tell stories of my own. Researching what I care about and capturing moments around me lead me to be immersed in my community and think more critically. I apply critical thinking and community involvement to many aspects of life, especially when navigating daily issues. By seeing the work of other photographers, I’ve started to develop a style of my own. Breaking into myself this year through photography and writing has made me more educated, passionate, and active. Other than literature and photography, I engage in social justice in my community and like to listen to music.

About my Project:
#TheSpaceAroundUs
My goal for this project is for viewers to be more conscious of their public space. In a fast-paced city like Los Angeles, it’s normal to rush by without noticing details. Ironically, during these past few months of quarantine, I’ve wanted to go out and explore more, and I’ve learned to be more conscious of the world around me. Navigating the streets with more awareness can put us in touch with the area around us. When we can appreciate the ground we step on and the spaces between, our idea of how we should treat our environment are magnified into something greater than ourselves. I hope that by looking at and thinking about these photos, viewers choose to go outside and notice the details of the city they live in.

Filled Up. Things taken out of place from home and loaded on the sidewalk can end up being what someone’s life depends on.

Open. In a parallel (to Filled Up) anything that was in this place could have been torn out and left anywhere. While some places are stacked to the brim, others are mysterious nooks with little purpose.

Something Religious. While one advertises their store day-by-day, the other relaxes, hidden away in the shade.

A Celebration. With the end of Trump came joy and relief for many people.

Behind the Gate. Two different worlds stuck behind the same thing. Even when something is odd or out of place, it still connects.

Win! Even during the black of night, the street points for people to celebrate together.

SHOOZ. The same setting, the same item, but infinitely different uses. To some, the shoes may be their rent, but to someone else, it’s just another donation.

DODGERSS. The street can bring all kinds of things together. When the Dodgers won the World Series, fans flooded Sunset Boulevard with smoke and music, and even through the chaos, the roads became a place to celebrate as a collective.

San Pasqual Park, Oct, 2020. San Pasqual Park sits next to the line between Highland Park and South Pasadena, on the Highland Park side. Highland Park is prominently Latinx and has an average household income of $45,478. Although there were some people at the park, no kids were playing on the climbing structure. In the last year or two, this park has been updated, and this jungle gym is one addition.

Lacy Park, Oct, 2020. This photo depicts a man riding his bike along the bike lane that wraps around Lacy Park in San Marino. This park is 30-acres and has tennis courts, a bike/walking path, a playground, a garden, a large field, and many grass sitting areas. Lacy Park is located in the center of San Marino, which is predominantly white and has an average household income of $131,758.

San Pasqual Park, December, 2020. This photo depicts a sign describing the guidelines of the park. Masks and social distancing are required to keep all patrons of the park safe and protected.

Lacy Park, Oct, 2020. In this photo, of a Lacrosse practice, you can get a better understanding of the green space and the parking space in general.

Arroyo Park, Oct, 2020. It sits next to the line between Highland Park and South Pasadena, on the South Pasadena side. South Pasadena is predominantly white and has an average household income of $85,058. This photo centers around two girls who are playing in the jungle gym with masks. While all were wearing masks, the park was busy and full of kids and parents. There was even soccer practice happening on the empty baseball field next to the park.

Arroyo Park, December, 2020. Two months later, COVID cases have risen, and the once busy park is now closed. You can still sit on the grass and enjoy the outside, but only one family is picnicking. The swings and climbing structure are wrapped in caution tape, and there is almost no one compared to two months prior.

Hermon Park and Tennis Courts, Oct, 2020. Looking closer at the fence, you can see that the door is falling off, and the metal is worn. In other places, the fence was patched up with orange material or not covered at all. This is just one example of how parks can fall into disrepair if not well maintained.

Hermon Park and Tennis Courts, Oct, 2020. Getting even closer, the wear on the fence and the broken hinge is brought into focus. You can more clearly see the discoloration and rust on the metal.

Hermon Park and Tennis Courts, Oct, 2020. Located in Highland Park, right next to the 110 freeway. This photo is of empty tennis courts, two of the four in Hermon Park. While I shot this court, a group of people played in the second court towards the back of the park.

Hermon Park and Tennis Courts, Oct, 2020. In this photo, the rusted color of the fence is illuminated and the holes are covered by the orange material. The mask is also an important aspect of this photo, reflecting on the present time and how much the pandemic has changed our lives.

Thank you to our Digital Promotoras: Action Student, Gabriela Acosta (not pictured) for your dedication to photography and creativity this semester.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to funding from USC Good Neighbors Initiative, L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs, The Annenberg Foundation and Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation