I Am Los Angeles is a video portrait series created by journalist and filmmaker Joris Debeij, showcasing the unique people and their ideas that make L.A. what it is. KCET Departures will be featuring these videos as part of our continuing coverage of the shifting cultures of Los Angeles.
At the age of 15, he first started taking pictures with a 35mm camera. He was amazed by the results when he put the film in the enlarger. Gregory Bojorquez quickly became compulsive about finding new subjects for his photography. At a young age, Greg started taking pictures of homeless people. "For some reason I started doing that... Why? Because I was afraid of them; they intimidated me, maybe that is why I did it."
Gregory grew up running around all over the Eastside of Los Angeles. His perspective on growing up on the Eastside of the river is that "there is much more of a sense of community, the people know each other". He admits that amongst the hard-working blue-collar crowd, it has sometimes been difficult for Gregory get others to understand his desire to turn photography into a career. But he didn't resist his calling. When Greg wasn't in the streets you could find him in the library looking a picture books. He enjoyed looking at the work of his role models: Annie Leibowitz, Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon, Marie Ellen Mark and Diane Arbus. Inspired by their ability to turn photography into an art form and a career, Greg was determined.
Gregory started to develop his eye by doing lookbook shoots for young designers in Downtown L.A., party pictures at concerts and other random jobs. Like many photographers, his camera is an extension of himself, and he is always taking pictures. And so it came to be that because of one photo he took at a late night party in East Los Angeles, he knew what his big project was going to be. Greg's focus is a photo project focused on the lifestyles of the residents of East L.A., and because he's a native to the area, you get a front-row seat through his lens.
Originally published on I Am Los Angeles, 2012.
Check out more video portraits at I Am Los Angeles.