Saturday, May 11, 2013

Los Angeles Baseball | Urban Youth Academy

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In 1991 at a very hot point in Los Angeles gang violence my mother made a decision that would forever change my life.  She decided that the only thing she could do to try to save me from the gang culture in LA was to move me to a smaller city that bordered LA.  Though we were still close to LA it was a different world with different opportunities.  Yes I missed my friends and yes I missed my soccer team, but here I discovered a new passion, a passion that would live with me from that point on.  In Glendale I was able to take my first photography class.  This was something that was unheard of at my old school.  Here I learned the basics and I was able to see my first images come to life in the darkroom.  From here I continued to grow as a photographer and in high school I would specialize in photographing sports.  With sports there was just something about anticipating that moment and making that split second decision to capture it.  I think this is why I love wedding photography as much as I do.  By the start of the digital era sports photography was a part of my long gone past.  Last week a friend from church asked if I would come photograph a baseball game of the High School he coaches at.  I said yes not only because he was a friend, or because this would be something that was at the root of why I love being behind a camera, but because this was a moment in these kids lives that they will never forget.  What these pictures don't tell you is that these kids live in one of the highest crime areas in Los Angeles, and the fact that they are on the field is a testament to theirs, and their parents drive and determination to NOT be a statistic.  These are students from Locke High in the Watts area of Los Angeles.  This is a school with an interesting past and was the scene of a battle between the LAUSD and citizens that said enough was enough.  Thursday took me for the first time to The Urban Youth Academy in Compton that is sponsored by the MLB and more importantly the two local LA teams the Dodgers and the Angels.  This academy gives kids a chance to dream and grow.  It allows them to have that drive and that thing to shoot for that will keep them away from the streets.  It was an amazing experience for me to shoot and to see these kids push to achieve greatness in life.


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