POV

Walking with Images: Pablo Unzueta

His work constantly reminds us that the most urgent war we have to fight and win is a social one and it’s right around the corner from where we live.

Images by Pablo Unzueta Interview by CBK

Pablo Unzueta sees the streets of LA in ways that only a young edgy artist can see. His images scream of social injustice, homelessness, despair. A reality seldom seen on main stream media. His work constantly reminds us that the most urgent war we have to fight and win is a social one and it’s right around the corner from where we live.

Pablo Unzueta_0002

©Pablo Unzueta

You began photography very young, how did you fall in love with it?
The first influence in my photographic journey was my grandmother, who at the time, had projects in El Salvador and Guatemala. There, she documented the children of the slums and landfills. Seeing that particular work at a young age became ingrained inside my head. I was amused and inspired to frame humanity in an artistic format.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

What part of LA did you grow up in?
I moved all throughout Los Angeles. There was a time when I lived with my mother, a single parent, in Santiago, Chile. I was born in Van Nuys and lived in Highland Park and Northridge. Now I’m living in West Covina, just 20 miles away from downtown L.A.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

Why did you choose documentary photography, rather than for example fashion?
Documentary photography is to advocate– to show the different realities in the world. Fashion photography is to sell a product or create staged- scenes. I’m not an advertiser. I could care less about fashion photography. It seems too Hollywood-like. I encourage people to tell stories.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

You seem attracted by street protests, why?
I enjoy the intensity and competition. The photographers are always competing for the best position. It has taught me valuable lessons on anticipation. There is always a great moment to capture, it’s a mixture of luck and being at the right place and at the right time. In the future, I plan on becoming a war photographer. The first publication to grant me an assignment in severe circumstances, I won’t think twice. I look at these protests like target practice. I’m always bettering myself when it comes to composition, lighting, geometric positioning, and timing.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

Do you always share the political view of the protesters, or you just feel compelled by the need to document while trying to remain objective?
When I’m documenting I tend to pull myself away from the conflicting sides. However, I’m always interacting and listening to what people have to say. I don’t think journalism is objective. There will always be bias reporting.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

Poverty is a recurring theme of your images. Why?
Poverty is one of the most common social illnesses in the world that is ignored every day by mainstream societies. It is important to spotlight that reality.

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

Do you think that today’s media sanitizes images too much, hence not showing the true reality of dramatic situations?
I think it’s more of censorship. There are powerful images being generated every day in conflict zones that hardly make it to a publication outlet. On the other hand, technology is growing, which means there is more freedom for photographers to publish whatever they want to an audience. Instagram is a great tool for that. It is taking photojournalism to a far more enhanced spotlight.
Pablo Unzueta_0009

What is your photography “Dream Project”?
Every project that I have done is a dream project come true. I sit to think day and night, about what my next projects will be. It all starts with a vision. I hope to travel to many places and expand on my storytelling experiences.
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©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

©Pablo Unzueta

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