Eighth grade student Andrea Popoca said she develops her voice and shares stories through photography, which she learned through nonprofit Las Fotos Project. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Popoca)
Maywood Center for Enriched Studies

Learning through a new lens: Las Fotos Project teaches girls photography

Through the lens of photography, eighth-grader Andrea Popoca captures amazing moments and shares inspiring stories.

Las Fotos Project, an organization that teaches young girls photography skills, has helped Popoca discover her voice, she said.

“The organization has helped me open up more and meet new people,” Popoca said.

Prior to joining in 2018, Popoca had little experience with photography. However, the organization provides girls with camera equipment and photography mentors.

Las Fotos Project has not only helped Popoca develop photography skills, but develop her own voice. 

“I used to be very shy; I’m still kinda shy, but I like to speak through my work of photography and to tell stories,” Popoca said.

She has also been able to work on projects that shed light on important social issues. In 2018 Popoca worked on aproject that she presented at the United Nations.

“The project was about water and how it is used in our daily lives, how we need to protect it, and the LA River,” Popoca said. “It took a few weeks to get the project together. We would meet on a certain day to go to different places in the LA River and take photographs and we also interviewed indigenous women. We learned about the indigenous women’s lives and what changes they are planning to make to the LA River to make it better.”

Being part of the organization whose focus is providing resources to young girls makes Popoca feel like she has a safe space. She believes that the Las Fotos Project motivates girls to learn and grow.

“I love meeting new girls because there is a variety of us and it makes it feel safe,” Popoca said. “I feel it is really eye-opening because men mostly take over everything, especially in the photography business. But the Las Fotos Project has opened the eyes of many women and has given many opportunities to girls.”

With the guidance of Las Fotos Project, Popoca shares stories while creating her own — one photo at a time.