On the Cover: Aperture’s “Los Angeles” Issue

Photographer unknown, Gata and Tootsie from Boyle Heights and East LA, Newberry’s Department Store, Downtown LA, 1971
Courtesy Michelle Padilla

The cover of Aperture’s fall 2018 issue, “Los Angeles,” features of snapshot of two women named Tootsie and Gata. Taken in 1971, the picture was submitted to the digital archive Veteranas & Rucas by Gata’s daughter, Michelle. “This photo embodies what my work is about,” says the artist and founder of Veteranas & Rucas, Guadalupe Rosales. “It is a photo taken at a photo booth of two strong, beautiful women from Los Angeles.”

Like any metropolis, LA is dynamic, changing, evolving, contested. Photographs often provide some sense of permanence, of telling and holding on to history. In 2015, Rosales began assembling archives of Chicano life in the city, from 1990s underground raves to car culture to groups of young women posing for DIY glamour shots. Through her popular Instagram accounts and installations, Rosales carefully collects and showcases vernacular images that speak to how traditional archives often exclude the stories of underrepresented communities. Her projects underscore the idea that the pluralism, adaptability, and expansiveness of photographs are commensurate with the multitudinous and sprawling character of the city itself.

“The reason I started doing this was because so much imagery of LA out in the world was stereotypical,” Rosales says. “The archive shows communities in the city that weren’t represented. Collectively we are reframing history, retelling the story of the city through personal experiences, reexamining the past through an insider’s point of view.”

Read more in Aperture, issue 232, “Los Angeles,” now available for pre-order. Guadalupe Rosales: Legends Never Die, A Collective Memory opens at Aperture Gallery on September 20, 2018.

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