Las Fotos Project Collaboration: Reflecting on New Beginnings
Published January 25, 2023
In a collaboration between NHM and Las Fotos Project, teenage girls and gender-expansive youth from communities of color were invited to reflect on the theme of “becoming” to celebrate the transformation the NHM Commons project brings to the museums and our community.
Las Fotos Project’s mission is to elevate the voices of teenage girls and gender-expansive youth from communities of color through photography and mentoring, empowering them to channel their creativity for the benefit of themselves, their community, and their future careers. Three youth photographers from Las Fotos Project’s CEO (Creative Entrepreneurship Opportunities) program leveraged their visual storytelling skills and high-quality photography to depict new beginnings in L.A. NHM is thrilled to elevate the voices and art of the Las Fotos Project community as one of the Museum's Community Partners.
Meet the Photographers
Caitlin Jane “CJ “ Calica (she/her) is a 17-year-old photographer from Glendale, California. Her interest in photography was ignited by taking photos for her high school’s Yearbook Club. Her ability to capture the environment and people around her has also encouraged her passion. She has been a member of Las Fotos Project for over four semesters, focusing on self-expression through mixed media pieces. Her work incorporates a variety of media, from overlay sketches to collages, all with the objective of honoring her Filipino ancestors and religious background. Inspired by the work of Nadia Lee Cohen and Matsuzuki Akemi, Calica aims to construct a signature look that is distinguishable by its color schemes and symmetry. Her future aspirations include continuing to work in editorial and mixed-media photography and working with more brands.
1 of 1
Melania Espinal (they, age 16) lives in Los Angeles, California. Being hyper-curious, ambitious, and idealistic, they usually find themselves daydreaming about their future and new creative projects. They love architecture, ceramics, and the material nature of film photography. Art-making and reading are very important to them and are a driving force in everything they do. They love to explore, and find the utmost inspiration in the spaces and structures around them. They try to capture this in myriad ways and different media, from fine art to portraiture.
1 of 1
Celeste Umana (she/her, age 17) is a Latina photographer from South L.A. Since 2016, she has been a member of Las Fotos Project, where she’s had the opportunity to experiment with many different styles of photography. She uses light, color, and candid portraiture to express the full range of human emotions and expression. Through her work, she has developed a keen eye for detail, and her creative approach shines through her compositions. Umana’s life experiences inform her passion for representation behind and in front of the camera, and she hopes to continue photography as a means of long-form storytelling into adulthood.
1 of 1