i was born and raised in great brook valley, a housing project in worcester, massachusetts. the son of a single mother raising four kids, i often found myself being pulled between the streets and my desire to create. art was always a means to escape, a means to forget, and a means to remember. to remember that life was more than the 1000 public housing units that surrounded me.
unlike most of my childhood friends, i was fortunate to find a way out through education and pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the university of massachusetts amherst. the pioneer valley was about as opposite as one could get from great brook valley. trying to navigate my way through this new territory, i picked up a film camera and started documenting everything around me — each image developed in the darkroom shining a light on my own life.
in 2012, i moved to new orleans to pursue a master’s in architecture at tulane university. the crescent city has been home to my pops’ family for generations — i recalled hearing stories of this place and its resurgence and knew this had to be my next home. what i did not know was how much of an inspiration new orleans would become for my work. upon moving, i focused a large portion of my time to community driven design initiatives and photo projects that amplified the voices of those who have often and historically been silenced.
as a creative, whether i am standing behind a camera or doing design work, what motivates me to keep pushing forward is the opportunity to connect with people. to focus in on the details of their lives and environments and create beautiful moments. honest moments. moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. moments that celebrate the true spirit of an individual or place.
photo by david armentor