A few months ago, I convinced my nephew Charlie to let me take some photographs of him in San Diego’s notorious Chicano Park. For those of you not from San Diego, Chicano Park is located underneath the Coronado Bay Bridge and is home to the worlds largest collection of outdoor murals. The park is dedicated to the hispanic heritage, whose people make up a large part of the San Diego population.
The park area was originally known as Logan Heights and was formed by Mexican settlers that were trying to escape the Mexican Revolution. Over the years, the primarily hispanic neighborhood was decimated by the creation of bridges (Coronado), highways (The 5) and lots of industrial buildings. It stirred up a lot of resentment between the hispanic people that lived in the area and the City Council.
The San Diego City Council promised the community a park but instead secretly planned on building a parking lot. On April 22 1970, a boy named Mario Solis noticed bulldozers in the area where the park stands today and started knocking on doors to get the neighbors to start protesting. He was successful in getting a large congregation of people to go to the park. They ended up staying there and protesting for 12 days. The result of their effort was the development of Chicano Park and it is a place where hispanics of all countries congregate each weekend for BBQ’s, Events and to just hang out with friends and family. It is truly a remarkable place.
I like to photograph in Chicano Park because of the authenticity of the place, and because of the brightly colored murals that provide and urban and unique setting.
She is a great girlfriend and she loves pictures, I guess that is a bonus because I follow her around everywhere snapping photos of her all day long. Her name is Tu. Not one, not three, but Tu (2). Everyone likes it when she says that. In fact everyone remembers her name, they never forget it. I guess everyone needs something like that. I always imagine telling people my name is Frank Sinatra when they meet me. I imagine if I said that they would never forget my name.
I guess I take so many pictures of Tu because she is so beautiful and because she always has this really nice warm smile. Her mom once asked me who did I think she looked like, her or her father. Well I thought she had her mom’s eyes and her dad’s smile. Her dad has this huge smile, and I think she has it Tu. One great thing about Tu is that she said she will never fake smile, so if you ever see a picture of her and she is smiling, it is because she is genuinely smiling. I think I have thousands of pictures of her smiling. I think it is pretty great to have a girlfriend that is so understanding and let’s me take so many pictures of her.
My nephew Geno is one of the most interesting people to photograph and that is why he is the subject for many of my portraits. He has so much personality and life that it really shines through when I take a photograph of him. The challenge is that Geno is constantly in motion so I need to keep in constant motion to keep up with him. Photographing kids is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do in photography and well, Geno is a great example of that.