Growing up in a big city has taught me plenty. There's the basic things like knowing how to order coffee at the local shop without having to get in line. But then there's the more important things like what streets are safe to walk on and what neighborhoods are considered allies. The more you knew, the better your chances of survival. That's just how it was. What I didn't know was that it wasn't like this everywhere- only in the 'hood.
I figured everyone lived this life. Everyone went to bed to the sounds of gun shots. Everyone knew to be aware of suspicious cars driving around, and they knew not to stand on the street corner for too long because the cops will harass you. I guess I was ignorant to the fact that I was at a disadvantage because I was a latino kid from an urban community. Little did I know that society expected me to end up in one of two places; prison or a coffin.
Art was always a part of my life. I was one of those kids that would draw on everything I owned. My dad once gifted me a box of markers, and I got suspended the week after for tagging up the bathroom walls at the local community center. He was so mad at me! Luckily I grew out of that by high school. Although I still doodle in my notebook during long business meetings. It's an artist thing I guess.
Out of every medium I've ever experimented with, photography has won my heart. I get a natural high from capturing a strong image. It started off as a hobby and grew into a source of income. There is no greater feeling than seeing your craft transform into a business. My camera has literally taken me places. It has opened doors for me. Doors I didn't even know existed.
When the odds were stacked up against me, photography became my way out.