Las Fotos Project honors up-and-coming women photographers

 Photograph of a dancer in a billowy gown
A photograph of a dancer taken by Veronica Monjaras, an L.A.-area photographer and Las Fotos Project awardee for youth editorial, which will be given at the Foto Awards ceremony Oct. 23.
(Veronica Monjaras)

Las Fotos Project: The Foto Awards and Silent Auction

The Foto Awards

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 23

Where: Online event via Zoom

Silent Auction

When: Opens Oct. 23 at noon | Closes Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.

Where: Online event

Founded in 2010, Las Fotos Project is a nonprofit organization in East Los Angeles that supports the self-expression, leadership skills and social well-being of teenage girls through photography and storytelling.

On Oct. 23, Las Fotos Project will host its third Foto Awards ceremony to honor six women, three youth photographers and three budding professionals.

There also will be a silent auction of photographs donated by over 50 women and nonbinary photographers.

Scroll through to see a selection of work by Las Fotos Project students and awardees.

Veronica Monjaras | Youth Editorial Award recipient

A photograph of a woman lying in a bed of groundcover plants
A photograph taken by Foto Award recipient Veronica Monjaras. “Events like these, are a great platform and source of inspiration to give young girls the chance to fall in love with the process of creating,” she says.
(Veronica Monjaras)

Events like the Foto Awards are important because of the recognition give to budding photographers.

— Veronica Monjaras | Las Fotos Project


Veronica Monjaras’ Instagram

Kimberly Espinosa | Youth Advocacy Award recipient

Photo by Kimberly Espinosa
(Kimberly Espinosa)

For a very long time, I was interested in photography. It was not always very accessible until I joined Las Fotos Project. To be part of this community and recognized for my art has been so life-changing in the best way possible.

— Kimberly Espinosa | Las Fotos Project

Kimberly Espinosa’s Instagram

Hannah Kozak | Self-Expression Award recipient

Photo by Hannah Kozak
A photo by Hannah Kozak, recipient of the Foto Award for self-expression.
(Hannah Kozak)

Events like The Fotos Awards are important because they inspire teenage girls through photography, mentorship and self-expression.

— Hannah Kozak | Las Fotos Project


Hannah Kozak’s Instagram

Smita Sharma | Advocacy Award recipient

Photograph by Smita Sharma
Smita Sharma’s portrait of S., a Bangladeshi survivor of sex trafficking in the Indian state of West Bengal. Sharma is the recipient of the Foto Award for advocacy.
(Smita Sharma)

Stories shape how we see other people, influence our opinions and understanding and thereby help in raising awareness.

— Smita Sharma | Las Fotos Project

Smita Sharma’s Instagram

Thalia Gochez | Editorial Award recipient

Photo by Thalia Gochez
A photo by Thalia Gochez, recipient of the Foto Award for editorial. “The Fotos Awards are important because it provides space for women photographers to be recognized in their creative field by their community,” Gochez says.
(Thalia Gochez)

Since photography is such a male-dominated industry, it’s important we honor often-overlooked creative forces shifting the lens.

— Thalia Gochez | Las Fotos Project

Thalia Gochez’s Instagram


Esmeralda Estrada | Youth Self-Expression Award recipient

A photo by Esmeralda Estrada
(Esmeralda Estrada)

I always feel so alive with a camera in my hand, and the best part about photography is I can choose what I want to see.

— Esmeralda Estrada | Las Fotos Project

Esmeralda Estrada’s Instagram