LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Metztli Garcia was given a unique opportunity by Las Fotos Project, an organization founded in 2010 by Eric Ibarra.
Ibarra saw a need to give teenage girls a creative outlet to build their confidence and self esteem. SInce then, Las Fotos has worked with hundreds of girls throughout Southern California. Empowering them through self-expression via the art of still photography.
Garcia is one of many young local artists who joined the program.
"Being in this program, it gave me an outlet to share and have a voice somehow through art, and I definitely have opened up a lot of how myself through my images," Garcia said. "It's the student leading the whole experience so I had to choose the frames, I had to put up the photos, and I had to choose my subject."
The young East LA native decided her solo photography project would focus on her neighborhood.
"I've grown to be very proud of where I'm from and my beautiful and revolutionary ethnicity. My exhibit is called, 'Thank You, East Los,' and the theme is about showing appreciation to the East LA culture, traditions, music, dance, everything that I was given growing up here," Garcia expressed.
Students are encouraged to critically examine the world around them, and to be selective when deciding which moments are worth capturing. And snapshot by snapshot, this exploration empowers girls.
"Photography definitely made me feel more comfortable in sharing how I feel with and what I have to say about issues in the community," Garcia said. "I definitely want to come back, one I'm done with college or also on the side/weekends, and being able to help out because it's an amazing program."