Photographer Jason Cordova, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, loves to explore different parts of his hometown. Cordova looks to capture the energy, love, and pride within his community through each of his photos. Here’s a glimpse of his amazing story and empowering message.
From the very first time he laid his hands on a camera, Cordova says he was excited about the creative possibilities it represented.
“There’s never truly been any conscious direction as far as where I wanted to take it. I was always very fluid with letting the camera sort of be my director.”
“I’ve been shooting seriously for going on about 5 years. I’ve always been somewhat creative whether it was with a camera or music. As an early teen in Los Angeles, I would take my little film camera down to various areas and yards in L.A. and take pictures of all the graffiti that would influence me.”
With every new spot in L.A. that he visited, he also met new people.
“That’s the recurring theme in most of my work — it’s getting more involved with the people that I’m capturing and the people that make up the scene that I might be involved in,” Cordova told mitú.
Cordova spent many of his early years shooting photos at the Venice skate park.
“It wasn’t enough for me to take a couple pictures of the skaters and be done,” explained Cordova. “I wanted to be sort of a silent participator in the subject, so I can catch the actual passion and energy involved in whats going on, instead of just being a spectator.”
Cordova’s photography opened his eyes to areas of L.A. that were completely unfamiliar to him.
His favorite shots became those of abandoned places. Cordova says he gets a sense of hope from an abandoned building. “L.A. is interesting. Growing up in L.A., we’re very segmented in our neighborhoods. If you live in Inglewood, you might travel to a few surrounding areas, but mainly we stay in our areas,” Cordova told mitú. “The camera and the community of photographers that I’m involved with has pushed us to go further and further until I’ve traversed and explored every little nook and cranny in this city, looking for new angles and new ways to capture the city.”
After becoming intimately familiar with Los Angeles, Cordova says he strongly believes there’s beauty everywhere.
“That’s one thing thats always been important for me to show — that this is a beautiful city, not just a sprawling, desert metropolis. It’s just a matter of how you’re choosing to look at it and how we’re choosing to present it,” Cordova said.
When Cordova had first started taking photography seriously, he was focused on getting cool snapshots of cars. Now, it’s the people that matter most.
“You see young people, you see older people, you see many different generations, many different gang affiliations,” Cordova told mitú. “Everybody puts everything on hold on Sunday, to come together and celebrate those cultures.”
With every single one of his weekends spent out on the streets of L.A., Cordova explains the powerful sense of hope that he has both felt and witnessed with every picture he has taken for the past five years.
“As I’m out there on a Sunday when the crowd is at its peak, the one thing I always see and feel, overall, more than anything else, is a feeling of hope.”
And all of this hope stems from the unity of the people, which is beautiful.
“For a few hours every week, everybody can come together. All the negativity and all the struggles of everybody’s week before that and week after that suspended for those moments. And there’s a hope that you can gain from that.”
Cordova says he felt L.A. was more united than ever during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Since Trump started spewing his messages of hate, that caused a major movement,” Cordova said. “I’m hoping that the silver lining is that it forces people to put their bullsh*t on hold and stay together.”
Even with the elections over, the sense of unity and familia remains. Cordova feels that the people of Los Angeles will continue coming together, and that’s what he’s ready to capture with his camera.
“If we can come together on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, we can come together on Tuesday. We can come together on Wednesday. And we can come together all the time,” Cordova told mitú. “And it doesn’t need to be something that’s segmented into days of the week. We can come together and be united all the time.” ✊🏾♡
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