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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

13.06.2022

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“The photograph seen here shows the homies from LV70 (Lomita Village 70). They were representing the neighborhood during a video shoot for a local rapper. It was taken with my Leica D-Lux 7, right before the sky descended into evening.

This was different to anything I'd done before: shooting three or four hoods in San Diego, at one time and in areas where there had been murders recently. Some times local rappers, and especially non-gang-related local rappers, need the support of the neighborhood to be able to move as they do, just as I do when I take photographs. In many ways, San Diego is going through a transition phase brought about by political gentrification, which is wiping out the old barrios to give place to coffee shops, and by the wars on the street that make you know that nothing has changed. Despite this, however, rival gangs sometimes come together in collaborative support, of the rappers.

When I work in locations like this one, I'm constantly moving around, taking shots from lots of different angles. It takes dozens of shots before I actually find the image that reflects exactly how I perceive it through my lens. I study the protagonists as they pose, and then observe their personality and body posture, hoping for what will be a strong and unique shot. In this particular photo I asked them to reveal their hood by lifting up their shirts. These are vatos (guys) who have survived a lot of really bad things in their life time while walking through Lomita Village, and still representing all the blood that has been spilled on the side walks.”

Text and image: © Miguel Valencia
Equipment: Leica D-Lux 7 with DC Vario-Summilux 10.9-34 f/1.7-2.8/ ASPH.
© Miguel Valencia

Miguel Valencia

Miguel 'Chromatic' Valencia has established himself within the margins of San Diego, California, South East, South Bay and North County areas. He documents the life of the neighborhood, and the gangsters that represent the area, while writing their life stories as well. He has worked steadily on this project photographing what he calls “The other side of San Diego”, as solid and truthfully as possible.
His photos are about life on the side walks, the shootings, and the losses.

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