We first met Frankie C. when he shared his remarkable photos of Sikhs in Los Angeles with us earlier this year. His low profile and humble approach are rare in the era of social media and self-promotion, but his work speaks for itself. A native Angeleño, Frankie is deeply connected to the people of Los Angeles, and you can see that in his portraits of the city's residents, and the details he captures on his sojourns around every part of L.A. Please enjoy this selection of his photography along with a Q&A with this emerging local artist.
What's your favorite taco?
-Cheese tacos from Taqueria El Tapatio in Glendale. Traditionally made with cheese in between 2 small tortillas. I'm hungry thinking of them now.
What's your favorite hidden corner of los angeles?
- I don't really have a favorite corner in particular, but I feel at peace when I'm people watching on the corner of 7th & metro. Specially during the golden hour.
As a native Angeleno, what are some of the good and some of the bad changes you've seen in LA?
- I don't speak much about politics but I've watched this immigration law in our city unfold, going back and forth and experienced first hand how the people have reacted. One thing that brings me happiness is knowing that hope, which for most was lost a long time ago, has been re-instilled in a lot of our people. The ugly side of that though has caused a lot more people to become angry and more open to stand up for their rights and beliefs (which we should) but they aren't afraid to take it to extreme measures to get their points across and I feel because of that more of our people are being hurt and killed everyday.
When and where are you most happy?
- Real talk, I'm happy when I'm with people who genuinely care and love me. I can be anywhere with them and feel at home.
When did you know you were a photographer?
-I can never forget this moment when I was about 10 yrs old, I was at Disneyland with family from New York, my girl cousin asked me to take her photo, so she handed me her camera and I remember I adjusted my position to get the perfect angle when I handed the camera back and she saw it, she said "wow! when you grow up you should be a photographer!". Although this sounds cliché, I really believe photography chose me.
Where do you go to relax? How about to party?
- Walking the city with earphones on and my film camera at hand is hella relaxing to me. Sometimes we need to try to make the time disconnect from it all.
Party? Hmm mainly with my girl and the crew at chill spots. Nothing in particular, but we have our moments.
Do you have a lucky number?
- no, not at the moment.
What other photographers inspire you?
- Man, Boogie has definitely been a great inspiration in street photography for me. That dude is hella dope.
But not only photographers inspire me, hard working people, people from all walks of life. The people that actually have great stories to tell and who take pride in what they do.
Where do you find the subjects of your portraits?
-Depends on the visual story I want to tell, the portraits I make are of people mainly here in LA with the exception of some made in the mid west and Mexico City. But, As long as I have my camera in my hand and I connect well with the people in front of me, I can make beautiful portraits anywhere.
Do you have a personal favorite photograph?
-Yes a couple actually, one of them is by Eddie Adams, the image is of a South Vietnamese police chief, shooting a suspect in the head and they say the bullet was still inside the suspect's head when he made that photograph. Another is a photo by Boogie, it's of a man with his eye on the palm of his hand and a boy sitting on his stomach putting his finger trough the eyesocket. Those kind of raw images are of moments that can't be remade and those are the types of images I like to make.
What are the challenges for a young photographer trying to make it these days?
- One of the challenges I see for these young photographers is that a lot of them tend to categorize their practice by following what they see on Instagram. Don't get me wrong, its cool to seek visual inspiration but it's also cool when you can explain how you made the image without having to add a hundred filters. My advice would be for them to expand their vision and to forget about what others are shooting. Create your own lane, your own hype. Oh yea and earn your title.
What's coming up next for you?
- I have a lot of really cool projects lined up, to name a few I have an editorial project with the W Hotel that I'm going to start soon, a residency with the Mondrian hotel and an art project with 7-11 which I'm really stoked about. And of course I'll be on the streets shooting and making stories.
Complete this-- we're living in the golden age of...
social media photographers.
Who are your favorite visual artists?
- Dan Stafford Clark is a really dope director of photography. I'm also a huge fan of Gregory Crewdson, guy has some ill work. Definitely recommend everyone to check these visual artists out.
- God, my family, especially my beautiful mother, my girlfriend Sarah who has my back 100%, my cousin "Chore" and my THC crew who brought me in as a young teen, My brother Art "bboy Soviet". All my people in the struggle and to all the people who believe and support me. I love y'all.
Visit Frankie C. on Instagram or his website.