The Travel Diary: A nostalgic stroll through the streets of LA

The Travel Diary: A nostalgic stroll through the streets of LA
What you see along the way — Photographer Lorena Endara shoots the freeways, businesses, and housing projects of Boyle Heights for her latest photo series, LA (Latin America) Dreams.

Many poems, songs, and conversations are about having a sense of belonging, or not belonging. I usually felt alien to this concept since I had never felt a sense of belonging – and this didn’t really matter to me. Recently, I realised that not belonging and not caring to belong allowed me a false sense of freedom. After exploring my fears and the trauma behind it, I suddenly awoke in LA, California, about 6,646 km away from Panama, the place where I am from.

My name is Lorena, and on my first trip to Los Angeles, my partner took me to Lorena Street in Boyle Heights. Aside from showing me the neighbourhood where he grew up, he was already trying to make me feel at home in his beloved city. I simply loved seeing pharmacies, clinics, restaurants, and schools with my name on it. Since that day, we romanticised the idea of walking the 3.2-mile strip of concrete and taking photos along the way. After all, Lorena Street is Los Angeles in all its beauty and depth.

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As you cross the street you find a running track around the historic nine-acre Evergreen Cemetery; diverse family-owned businesses; post-World War II housing projects smothered in murals; a beautiful 1920’s open arch bridge; and the Interstate Five Freeway which connects the US to Canada and Mexico. Lorena Street is also a ten-minute drive from Downtown LA. The signs of gentrification are already present in Boyle Heights, indicating that this Mexican American community will soon be displaced.

If the American dream is about the praise of monetary wealth and endless consumption, the Latin American dream is about the praise of spiritual wealth and endless production. As dreamers, we can pursue an abundance of truthful connections, limitless creativity and intimate communication. These photographs, LA (Latin America) Dreams, are about being awake but maintaining this dreamy vision. They are about hope, intimacy, a sense of presence – and how I found the right place to find myself.

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See more of Lorena Endara’s work on her official website.

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