Vista L.A.: OC photographer sheds light on Mexican immigrants

Friday, November 10, 2017 03:06PM
Javier Castellanos began his photography career by focusing on bands who performed at a night club he used to own, but then the 2016 election changed his plans.


SANTA ANA, Calif. - Javier Castellanos began his photography career by focusing on bands who performed at a night club he used to own, but then the 2016 election changed his plans.

Castellanos' father founded JC Fandango, the first salsa club in Orange County. Popular Latin salsa and dance artists, such as Celia Cruz, attended the club.

When Castellanos became the owner of the club, he took it one step further and started bringing pop and rock Latin artists, especially some who had never been to the U.S. before.

But he soon changed careers and became a photographer.

"I took a break, but I always took photos at JC. Most people didn't really realize it...but I loved it," he said. "So I started taking pictures and got into a bunch of different publications and I just did it for myself as well."

The Orange County native was passionate about taking photos at concerts, but last year that passion changed. He became disturbed by the negative depiction of immigrants in then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric.

"I was really upset that a certain person that was candidate for a president started talking really negative about Mexican people," he said. "I was so upset, I tried to wrack my brain of what I could do."

That's when he decided to make Mexican immigrants the subject of a unique collection of photos.

"It was my way to show Mexican immigrants in a beautiful light. How hard-working they are. They do so much for this country and they're not appreciated," he said. "I lived with these people. They're like my family. For someone to say those derogatory remarks about Mexican people, or Mexican immigrants, it hurt me to the core because my parents are Mexican immigrants."

Castellanos recently had a cover story on OC Weekly with his portraits. He said his main goal is for people to have more empathy.

"I think having more empathy will just make the world a more beautiful place," he said.

If you would like to see more of Castellano's work, you may go to http://chasingtheshot.com.

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