Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsYouth

INSIDE STORY

In the Neighborhood

Teenagers Open a Lens on Life in L.A. to Find Laughter, Reality and Love. Along the Way, They Also Reveal Something About Themselves.

April 18, 1999

These photographs from around los Angeles are from a project begun last year by the California Community Foundation, which manages charitable funds in Los Angeles County, in collaboration with nonprofit arts organizations and distinguished photographers. The idea was to chronicle Los Angeles through the eyes of youth. Twenty-two teenagers participated. Their assignment was to document their neighborhoods--where they come from, who they are. The foundation provided each with a 35-millimeter camera and dozens of rolls of black-and-white film.

Jim Hubbard, editor of the book "Shooting Back: A Photographic View of Life by Homeless Children," served as one of the five mentor photographers. He was joined by Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Williams and Aurelio Jose Barrera, both of the Los Angeles Times; Susan Sterner of the Associated Press, and team leader Tyrone Turner, formerly of the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Several of the teenagers had never touched a camera before. Their mentors taught them the nuances of subject matter, focusing, framing and natural light. "Then you see these images and there's such a humanity to them," says Anne Bergman, who coordinated publication of a selection of the photos for the foundation's 1998 annual report, "As You See It."

*

Raul O'Campo, 15, a sophomore at Manual Arts High School. Location: South-Central

My friend and I had gone to the park near 47th Street to play basketball. We thought it might be kind of nifty to capture him doing the back flip because he's really good at it. He's very outgoing. I see him on weekends sometimes because his grandma lives over here. I live about two blocks away. I would call this a jump-for-joy feeling. He's willing to have fun. I like those kind of people who are willing to get their hands dirty and make mistakes. And right there he made a mistake because when he landed he kind of hurt himself. He didn't complain or anything.

*

Adrian Cabezas

17, a senior at San Fernando High School. Location: Pacoima

That's my mom. She was getting ready for work one day and I caught her like that. She was beyond drying her hair. For a split second she wasn't there. She's probably thinking back to when she was younger, when she used to go out a lot with her sisters and with my dad. She doesn't do that anymore. She has two jobs. She sacrifices a lot for me and my brother and sister to keep us in the right direction. I'm seeing her beauty in the picture.

*

Christina Velazquez

18, a student at Pasadena City College. Location: Boyle Heights

We were on Cesar Chavez Boulevard in Boyle Heights where a lot of Latinos go shopping and to eat. Mariachis were on different street corners singing to the people passing by. Two of them finished playing and put their cellos down next to the telephone. That really caught my attention. To me, the cellos represent the Latino community because a lot of Latinos listen to mariachis on their birthdays and special occasions. The family get-togethers. You get to share things that are happening in your life. You feel happy around mariachis because you're with all your loved ones.

Adrian Cabezas

Location: Pacoima

This is the outside area of my girlfriend's condos and her profile. That's one of the little kids who plays around in that area. She would try to play with the other kids and they would just ignore her. They were all talking in Spanish and she didn't understand. They were teasing her. I'm figuring it's because she was black. So she left. Her expression was almost like, "Oh well!"

*

This is my house, my driveway. These are people my dad knows; they're like mechanics. My dad's car was messed up. I don't know how much he gives them and they help him out. I wouldn't want to do that, just be stuck to that. While I'm here taking my pictures, having to do my homework, they're fixing a car and that's it. You know? I mean no offense to them, but that's all they're going to do for the rest of their lives, fix cars.

*

Marie I. Amaya

17, a senior at the Computer Careers Academy at Marshall Fundamental High School. Location: Pasadena

I was standing outside our house and my brother, Francisco, put his face against the screen door. It was like, "Oh, that looks cool," like the picture is made up of dots. It's like he's trying to get through but there's something holding him back. It means something because of who we are. We're not the type to be going out partying. We have high moral standards because of our religion. I'm a Jehovah's Witness. He knows where his limit is, although he's trying to push through a little.

*

Miguel Hernandez

20, plans to attend Los Angeles City College. Location: Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|