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Latino/a Mobility in California History

Genevieve Carpio, Javier Cienfuegos, Ivonne Gonzalez, Karen Lazcano, Katherine Lee Berry, Joshua Mandell, Christofer Rodelo, Alfonso Toro, Authors

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@blacklotusrosie and Narratives of Mobility on Instagram

@blacklotusrosie I 

After seeing Rosie’s photographs in other photographers’ Instagram accounts, I was curious to see how she represented herself on her own self-curated account. I was curious to see what she characterized as being part of her life in Los Angeles, and what Los Angeles looks like through her eyes. Especially in light of her interview, one of the photographs that most shows her mobility throughout the city is this one, a photograph she took most likely with her iPhone camera of the nearest metro station. For many young Chicanas in Los Angeles, the extension of the metro line to neighborhoods such as Pico Aliso, Boyle Heights, and East L.A., have allowed for a greater mobility throughout the city. In considering the inadequate public services historically allocated to low-income communities of color, the metro line can become a site of possibility. The fact that she includes it in her Instagram profile indicates that the metro station means something to her, and she wants to show the world that it is part of her everyday life in Los Angeles. Photography on social media, like the murals on freeway underpass, is yet another sway to assert a sense of belonging in Los Angeles.

@blacklotusrosie II 

This is a photograph of Rosie by the oceanside, in which she poses assertively with her body open toward the camera. She does not let her body take the central focus of the photograph, and rather allows the ocean to accompany her body in the frame. Her body language shows dominance in the landscape, a sense of grace and ease in being part of it all. It reminds us of the novel Ask the Dust, where the young Mexican American protagonist Camilla drives herself to the beach and revels in basking in its waters. More explicitly, however, the photograph tells us that like most young Chicanas, she is drawn to L.A. beaches and feels they are also part of her home. She is mobile throughout the city, and Chicanas are part of the beaches just as much as they are part of the barrios.

@blacklotusrosie III

Not surprisingly, many of the noisiest, imposing structures that run through working-class Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles are train tracks. I appreciate the subversion taking place in this photograph, however, which shows two young Chicana women posing elegantly on the train tracks. The train tracks run infinitely away in the background of the photograph’s frame, giving us a sense of infinite direction. I am struck, again, by the sense of ownership over the landscapes that are part of these communities.  These images help us consider what sites of mobility, both literal and symbolic, are part of a young Chicanas everyday life in Los Angeles.

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