PILSEN — Six young photographers will display their art in an exhibit next week, part of a summer program dedicated to teaching photography to Southwest Siders.
Eduardo Cornejo, a photographer and creative director for the Gage Park Latinx Council, led a summer class called Documentografía for a group of young Latinx adults. The class gave students access to a camera and other necessary equipment, in addition to lessons on the history and basics of photography, Cornejo said.
The gallery exhibition is a capstone for the class. It will be held 6 p.m. Monday at Casa de Cultura in Pilsen, 2057 W. 18th St. The event is free.
“They’re creating the gallery all themselves, so they’re writing a description, they’re coming up with the names,” Cornejo said. “That’s what the program has been working towards.”
This is the second summer Gage Park Latinx Council has had a cohort of students participate in Documentografía, Cornejo said. The name of the program combines the Spanish words for “documentary” and “photography,” and the goal is to empower young people who might not have any experience taking photos to document what’s going on in their lives and homes on the Southwest Side, Cornejo said.
The Gage Park native said it’s been important to him to provide young people creative opportunities that weren’t available to him and give back to the next generation.
“This program is definitely something that we’re looking to grow,” Cornejo said.
Cornejo wants the students “to understand that as long as they have the vision, which a lot of them do, it’s more so about trusting their vision, trusting their instincts, and capturing the stories of people that they want to document,” he said.
Even though the students from different parts of the Southwest Side, Cornejo said they would find similarities in their photos of their neighborhoods, like street art or building architecture.
They’re “finding the beauty within the neighborhoods together,” Cornejo said.
That idea has informed Cornejo’s own work. He created the Momentos Distintos outdoor exhibit outside Esperanza Health Centers in Brighton Park earlier this year featuring his shots of Southwest Side neighborhoods.
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