A Girl-Powered Foto Studio by 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.
Has your proposal changed due to COVID-19?
The Las Fotos Project team has remained vigilant of the new changes to state and city-wide mandates, as well as health developments emerging from the CDC. We will be amending our project time-line to reflect these emerging recommendations. Our project remains focused on mutual-aid, post-COVID19 support for our students, and women-owned businesses. In the interim, we will begin the launch of our project by supporting our students and women-owned businesses with safe, at-home product photography services in the upcoming months until we feel we can safely and adequately open the Foto Studio in person.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
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: 100
Indirect Impact: 1,200
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
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
Capacity, including staff
Strategy assistance and implementation