Photographer and filmmaker Devyn Galindo‘s debut book, "We Are Still Here," captures a year’s worth of protests, celebrations and intimate moments among Chicanx- and Xicanx-identified residents of East Los Angeles. Galindo discusses the book, released last November, in a profile published by Remezcla yesterday (February 16).
Galindo, who identifies as Mexican-American and non-binary and uses the pronoun "she" on her website, tells Remezcla that she was inspired by elements of East LA youth culture and activism that embrace intersectionality and queer identity. "Before [I moved to East LA in 2015,] I couldn’t feel like I could walk into a room and feel comfortable as a queer person," she says. "And I think that just now in the past couple of years, the next generation is really paving the way for just being way more progressive, with their language around gender pronouns, and just trying to create more safe and inclusive spaces."
Her 73-page book, which features poems and essays about Chicanx/Xicanx identity alongside the photos, centers on 10 recurring subjects. Galindo met several of them in La Conxa, a community space run by the Ovarian Psychos Bicycle Brigade, and connected with others as word of the project spread online. "I just wanted to capture their personalities, their truest self," she says of the subjects, many of whom she photographed during largely informal hangouts at concerts or in her apartment. "I don’t like to project anything. I want people to come as they are."
Galindo also took several photos, like the one above, at neighborhood actions focused on Xicanx identity. A 2015 Latino Rebels article explains that the first "X" in that word acknowledges users’ indigenous roots. "I think it’s important for people to realize we’ve been here pre-Columbus and we were not discovered," says Galindo about embracing Xicanx pride. "We come from a long line of resistance and no matter what stage you’re at in your identity process, this is your birthright and this is in your blood."
View excerpts from "We Are Still Here" on Galindo’s website.