Artist Rosales has built an archive of vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to Latinx culture in Los Angeles. Guided by an instinct to create counternarratives, Rosales tells the stories of communities often underrepresented in official archives and public memory.
HAVERFORD, Pa.—Four women in baggy jeans and red lipstick stand on a bridge with the haze of Los Angeles smog in the background. A teenager with a faint mustache in an oversized Dallas Cowboys jersey poses with his arms around the waist of a girl in a crop top. The colorful striped shirts and bleached hair of four members of the Swing Kids party crew pop against a photographer’s plain gray dropcloth. These are just a few of the snapshots collected by Guadalupe Rosales’ Instagram account Veteranas and Rucas, which chronicles the stories of Southern California's Latinx youth for its more than 183,000 followers.
Though her Instagram began with her own personal photos from growing up in L.A.’s Boyle Heights neighborhood in the 1990s, they grew to include crowd-sourced images and other ephemera connected to L.A.’s Latinx youth culture. Guided by an instinct to create counternarratives, Rosales’ Instagram archive tells the stories of communities often underrepresented in official archives and public memory. She views such work as a way of decriminalizing and reframing the history of brown youth, as well as connecting and reconstituting community.
Created in collaboration with nonprofit photography foundation Aperture, Guadalupe Rosales: Legends Never Die, A Collective Memory gathers photos and related memorabilia to translate these stories from phone screens to the walls of Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. For this exhibition, which extends from a feature in Aperture’s Fall 2018 issue, “Los Angeles,” Rosales presents an installation of materials from her archives—from photobooth images of couples to young Chicanx women posing with cars to the party crews that ran East L.A.’s underground music scene in the 1990s.