The Working for Dignity undergraduate research project is a result of the work of hundreds of undergraduate students in collaboration with the California Legal Rural Assistance (CRLA), the Day Worker's Center, and Santa Cruz County community members and workers. While the overall project required the efforts of a large number of undergraduate students researching, conducting surveys and interviews, analyzing data, and designing an interactive website. I was responsible deciding the final selection of images that would be utilized for the visual representation of this project. My goal for this project is to give honor to individuals who are often not given the respect they deserve by our society.
The processes through which these images are created are key for the manifestation of this body of work. In order to thematically connect the topic of labor with image production, I chose to create my images through analog processes that were both time consuming and physically draining. The incorporation of found objects is another unifying aspect of this project. Pallets are utilized throughout many types of work, often enduring large amounts of weight, harsh conditions, and are undervalued for their service. The workers depicted often experience the same conditions and disrespect that these items receive. By choosing to incorporate items that were once discarded, I returned functionality to the object and created a platform where the workers could be honored.
Being raised in South in Los Angeles, I was exposed to multiple forms of masculinity that my peers and friends embodied throughout their lives. It was a major contrast to the types of masculinity that I was exposed to during my high school experience due to the fact that I attended and all male Jesuit high school. For the purpose of this small study, I would like to focus on the types of masculinity that my peers embodied throughout my neighborhood in South Los Angeles. The community around my home in South Los Angeles is a dynamic and tense environment. I can recall first hand accounts to the amount of conflicts that exist throughout men of color within my community. I utilized concepts presented in the film Tough Guise 2 , in addition to incorporating the article written by Paul Kivel, The Act- Like- A- Man Box as well as the article written by Hernan Ramirez and Edward Flores , Latino Masculinities in the Post 9/11 Era, but specifically the analysis presented by Edward Flores on Barrio Masculinities.
In order to construct the questions for my survey, I incorporated themes and concepts from a course I took that I found most intriguing. Certain themes that had resonated with me during the span of the quarter were the notion of Barrio Masculinity, societies influence on an individual’s construction of masculinity and the affect the media has on a man’s notion of masculinity. As a result of having spent most of my adolescence in Los Angeles, I always questioned why the individuals I associated with and called my friends operated throughout society in a manner that was different than mine, even though the individuals I interviewed all reside in the same general vicinity as I do. The purpose of this small study was to gain a better understanding as to why and how the individuals in my neighborhood construct their notion of being a man, as well as to examine how the community they reside in has affected their notion of masculinity.
There were several factors that went into account when selecting the men that I wanted to be a part of my small study. A major factor that went into account was the location that my interviewees call home. I aspired to gain a better understanding as to how the community and neighborhood I call home has affected other men that are close in age to me. The men I selected also had to be close friends and individuals that I have known for more than ten years because I believed that the individuals I incorporated in my study would give me a sincere response to the questions that were presented. All of the interviews were conducted in person for the reason that I sought to create a photographic series on masculinity within my neighborhood in Los Angeles. I wanted to acquire a genuine response from my subjects I chose these two limiting factors due to my desire to explain and decipher the root all of the violence and animosity that is present throughout the men of color in my community. All of the men that participated in my small study identify themselves as Latino and are all between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight. I chose to focus on men that fit this criteria because of the fact that American society confirms an individual’s adulthood at the age of eighteen. I conducted seven interviews throughout the duration of my small study.In addition, I will preserve the anonymity of my interviewees by assigning pseudonymous when referring to them. If you would like to read my complete essay , please contact me at E.firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive a digital version of the essay.