Eduardo Urbina is a 23 year old photographer originally from East LA, who caught our eye with his distinctive style that explores street culture through 35mm film. We caught up with him to discuss the story behind his emotive images.
Where do you find your subjects to photograph?
My subjects are family, friends, and strangers. It all started when I told my homie Jose I was getting into photography. He reached out and told me to head over to Homeboys Industries. I received permission to shoot on the premises and he introduced me to a few people. I built bonds with everyone I took photos of. As for strangers goes, I carry my camera everywhere so if I see something or someone that catches my eye I just go up to them. Everyone i take photos of, I ask for permission, say what it’s for, as well give them prints.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
As an artist I try to be as humble as I can with the people I shoot. I’m really antisocial when it comes to my work on the sense I like working by myself. I’m really attracted to the violence and darkness, so I try to recreate that in my black and white photography.
Your images are very powerful, and have the unique ability to instantly tell a story. Is there a story from one of your photos that you would like to share?
I appreciate the kind words – if I had to choose one of my subjects it would be Joshua. He has one of the most interesting stories. What stuck to me is when he told me, “When I got hit and flatlined; that didn’t stop me coming back to this. The only thing that changed is that I came back with a bigger strap”. Growing up with dudes like this is what we looked up to, we didn’t have brown role models so we looked up to the “bigger homies”. These guys take pride in their neighbourhood, and why wouldn’t they? These streets have a lot of history.
Your work reveals the raw side of Los Angeles – how would you describe the street culture depicted in your work?
For people like me growing in these neighbourhoods; this isn’t the raw side of Los Angeles, for us it’s the norm. There’s no way of describing the street culture you just have to grow up in it to understand it.
In the recent political climate, with ongoing protests resulting from Trump’s election, minority groups have united in opposition to the President. How do you think this will carry through in your images?
The universe my photos and political views live in do not crossover. People with the mindset of Trump believe my subjects are monsters, yet they justify everything they do for ‘America’. All I have to say is #FUCKDONALDTRUMP
Check out more of Eduardo’s work on his Instagram
Interview by Sara Nicolette.