Hello friends,

This update is a little long, but I feel it’s a special one.

My name is Lucia Torres and I’m the new Executive Director here at Las Fotos Project. Some of you may remember our leadership transition announcement in July, but for those of you for whom this is new, I’ll catch you up! 

You may know that we were founded by the very tenacious and innovative Eric V. Ibarra. After 10 years of laying the building blocks of our organization, Eric has transitioned to exploring new and exciting creative ventures. He’s currently enjoying some well-deserved sabbatical time and diving back into his own photography in Mexico. I feel lucky to have grown my partnership and friendship with Eric over the years and I wish him well on his new adventures. 

I was introduced to Las Fotos Project when a friend shared her experiences being a mentor with the organization. I envisioned myself at 13, coming into my own identity and feeling the need to connect with other girls my age without judgement. Recognizing the importance of a space like Las Fotos Project, I decided to dedicate myself to the organization as a member of the Advisory Board in 2014. My time on the Advisory Board cemented my belief in Las Fotos Project’s mission, and so I continued to volunteer with the organization after my term. In 2018, I had the fortunate opportunity to join the team as a full-time staff member. I feel very humbled and honored to be greeting you all as Las Fotos Project’s Executive Director and to be at the helm of this new chapter for the organization which is now 100% women of color-led – from our core staff to our Advisory Board.

People have asked me how I feel turning the page during such a tumultuous time and, to be transparent, it feels all too familiar. I have worked throughout Los Angeles as an educator and youth organizer for over 20 years. From Pacoima to South Central, the conversations I’ve had with young people about race, economy, gender and education have all pointed to the same underlying systemic issues we are currently seeing come to a head. 

For the past 10 years at Las Fotos Project, we’ve amplified the voices of teenage girls through photography by ensuring that our students have access to supportive mentors, quality equipment and training. In doing so, they’ve documented an incredible decade-long visual narrative of Los Angeles. Within these narratives, our students have also documented how these systemic issues play out in our communities through their impacts on identity, accessibility, mental health, housing, green spaces and education.

Here we are today, sitting at the nexus of systemic racism, gender inequities and environmental injustices. The question I’ve been asking myself is, how do we elevate what we’ve built here at Las Fotos Project as a vehicle for the advancement of not only our students, but our communities as a whole? 

I believe that we can make this possible by actively listening to those who are most impacted by these systemic issues and ensuring that these voices are not just included in decision making processes, but are spearheading decisions. We often hear our civic and organizational leaders speak of ensuring a better future for our youth. But why do we continue to relegate our youth to the future when their own solutions are very much present? Girls are making advances in science, building businesses, and standing at the forefront of the fight for justice in race, education, climate change and more. 

Our own students and alumni here at Las Fotos Project are representing their communities on national and international platforms, spearheading collectives that are advancing art and emotional wellness for young women of color. 

And so, we have decided to kick off our 10th anniversary year by declaring it an ERA OF THE GIRL. We are strengthening our mission to elevate the voices of teenage girls from communities of color by turning our mentorship model in on ourselves. We will continue to provide our students with a supportive network of creative professionals while also looking to our students for their wisdom as we move through the next 10 years of uplifting women in the arts through photography.

We will honor the talent and creativity of teenage girls as high caliber artists meriting places in our home and art collections through our upcoming Era of the Girl retrospective photography book and launch of The Foto Store , our online print and product store.

We will validate their experience as community photojournalists and documentarians through the launch of #FromOurArchive, a look at 10 years of historic images taken by Las Fotos Project students and engaging the community in these archives through public photography activations and digital maps.

We will be advocates for economic justice and gender equity in the creative economy by creating direct pathways for students to earn a living and equitable wage while receiving mentorship and training as professional photographers through our entrepreneurial programs.

And we will continue to have the stories, power and creativity of teenage girls at the center of everything we do. 

I invite you to join me, and everyone at Las Fotos Project, in becoming a part of this Era of the Girl by cheering us on, joining our network of women supporters, or becoming involved with our upcoming celebrations starting with The Foto Awards – a weekend dedicated to honoring women photographers in the field today.

I’m excited for all that’s come with Las Fotos Project, but even more so, inspired by our students and honored to follow where they lead. 

In community,