Josue Monterroso, Jose Lopez, and Solomont Lytle-Hernandez, otherwise known as the JSJ Photo Collective, have been photographing as a collective since ninth grade. The three get together after school and on weekends to take pictures of their Koreatown neighborhood. Their submission for YCP features two men under a rainbow-colored umbrella making shaved ice, or “raspados.” Bottles and toppings are placed in the center of the foreground as a man, crushed ice in hand, reaches for something in his cart, while staring pensively ahead of him, caught in the middle of his thoughts.
JSJ is passionate about human rights, and as people of color, they dedicate their photography practice to documenting the Latinx community working in their neighborhood. “America has a reputation for forgetting or simply ignoring the needs of people of color like us,” they explain. Another thing that happens when they take their photos: they end up having conversations with the food vendors, discussing their jobs, their livelihoods, their families, and sometimes their immigration status. Their photographs not only tell stories about often overlooked topics, but they also serve as icebreakers for meaningful conversations about community and belonging. As JSJ says, “we all have the same goal to prosper in this country”.