A Girl-Powered Foto Studio by Las Fotos Project
Las Fotos Project
Las Fotos Project is opening a youth-centered photography studio in the heart of Boyle Heights where teen girls can build up their professional skills and earn an income by providing culturally relevant services for the community. During the school day, the studio will be made available as an affordable option for local artists/creatives, and after-school and on weekends the studio will be used by our students to conduct photoshoots and e-commerce photography services for women/POC-owned small businesses.
Please note: Our finalists completed their submissions before we had full information about the longer-term trajectory of COVID-19. Accordingly, we are giving them an opportunity to explain how they plan to modify their proposals under the current circumstances. Their responses will be added to submission pages before public voting begins on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
The mission of Las Fotos Project is to elevate the voices of teenage girls through photography and mentorship, inspiring them to use cameras to explore their identity, advocate for their community, and create their future career.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- East LA
- City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
Las Fotos Project was created for teenage girls to have the freedom to express themselves and explore their identity. When our students completed our creative programs, they asked ‘what next?’ We knew that simply pointing them toward careers in the creative economy would be setting them down an inequitable path of racial and gender roadblocks. Our students’ question inspired a vision for a youth-centered photography studio where teen girls can begin to dismantle roadblocks by building their professional and economic capital. In the midst of COVID19, we are refining our vision to support recovery and healing by launching a model that supports students, offers affordable services to the community and partners with some of the 200,000 women business owners in L.A. This mutual-aid effort will invite creatives to work in the studio through low-cost memberships, offer e-commerce product photography packages and provide opportunities for students to receive paid on-the-job training.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
We launched a small photography entrepreneurial training program for teen girls in 2017, providing our students opportunities to work as hired photographers with the support of professional photographer mentors. The program grew from 7 girls generating $24,700 in revenue during our first year to 15 girls generating $38,800 in revenue our second year; there are currently 23 teen girls learning everything from event photography to post-production. We attribute the successful growth of the program to the guidance of our strong women of color leaders and mentors. Additionally, Las Fotos Project has always been a youth-centered photography nonprofit organization; there is a power-sharing between adults and youth—where youth are entrusted with the big issues and encouraged to drive our gender equity work with their feedback. This power-sharing gives youth a seat at the table, value, and respect, while still receiving support and guidance from adults through a generative learning process.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Las Fotos Project supports the agency of teenage girls from communities of color by creating an environment that both values and validates their lived experiences. They are mentored by and create images of people who look like them, living lives that may be similar to their own lived experiences. We’ve seen how this environment empowers girls to self-advocate and explore their own cultural, community and professional identities further. Our new studio will allow us to continue this work on a much greater level by creating a venue where girls from the community can launch into their creative careers by providing their families, neighbors and local small businesses with the relevant photography resources they need to rebound and flourish.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Through the youth-led photography studio, Las Fotos Project is applying its community-centered engagement approach to build a mutually-beneficial and sustainable site for youth, artists and small businesses to support one another and recover from the economic fallout caused by COVID19. We envision the Las Fotos Project’s youth-centered photography studio as both an incubator and accelerator, ensuring that more teenage girls have the skills and support to pursue lucrative creative careers while also providing local creatives and small business owners with accessible and culturally-responsive photography services. LFP defines success as working to reduce income inequality by removing barriers for emerging artists to access professional networks and launch entrepreneurial business models for the creative economy. We will identify women-owned businesses seeking to build their online presence to provide affordable e-commerce and marketing photography services, creating an economic support loop between women and girls. We are also currently developing service pricing models that will be accessible and affordable to the local community. The outcomes of our activities will be measured through pre/post-program assessments for students, pre/post-surveys for venue renters, and client satisfaction surveys. Our regular Youth Advisory Council meetings and LFP member meetings will also create an avenue for direct feedback on the effectiveness and accessibility of our business model.
Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?
- Employment in the creative industries
- Income inequality
- Minority- and women-owned businesses
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Capacity, including staff
- Strategy assistance and implementation
Los Angeles Center of Photography
LA Photo Hub
Over the past two decades, the Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP) has supported photographers from beginners to professionals. Adults and kids from a broad spectrum of backgrounds have learned foundational and cutting edge photography techniques that have empowered them to tell compelling stories and reach their fullest potential of self-expression. My LA2050 will allow LACP to continue to advance our programs and to grow and fulfill our mission by offering more free events and exhibitions, as well as scholarships for underserved kids.
LA Sanitation and Environment: LA Industry
LA Industry: Circular Textiles
LA Industry aims to create a centralized HUB where material byproducts from businesses can be repurposed instead of going to landfills. This HUB will create a local closed-loop market that promotes a circular economy by providing stable and consistent material streams for reuse. Two key success factors that will be addressed are the management of an online material exchange platform and quality control/assurance.