For William Camargo, capturing life’s everyday moments is what makes his work stand out.
Life is lived and then people forget the little things that they may share with others.
The fridge at his parents’ home is a photograph that features an old butter container that is reused to store other items like salsa. A small detail that can be found among other hispanic homes but you would typically not see.
This photograph got a lot of attention from his audience because it was something others can relate to but is typically not photographed and shared.
Camargo grew up in a neighborhood with bad influences around him. He felt conflicted wondering if he should get involved, but he was fortunate enough to find his own path.
“What really helped was the after school programs like the Boys and Girls Club and Project S.A.Y.,” says Camargo which helped him stay out of trouble.
He attended Anaheim High School where he decided to take an “easy A” photography class his senior year. Little did he know, the class required more work and skill than he imagined.
“I wanted to be a doctor in high school because I thought that was the only way out of poverty” says Camargo of his early career aspirations. Even though Camargo was good in math and science it wasn’t something he was passionate about.
Camargo had an unknowingly good eye for photography that was seen by his teacher. That’s where the seed for photography was planted.
“I didn’t really see myself in any of the photographers until later on,” Camargo said.
As he continued to expand his work, he started to see “photographers of color photographing the communities they belong to.” What he saw around him is exactly what he began to capture, from his tattooed cousins to his friends and life around him.
Fast forward to Fullerton College, where Camargo continued with photography and sought working towards becoming a professional artist. There his skill set continued to grow and mold into his unique style of capturing the community he experiences around him.
His photo series on his hometown showcases the sharp contrast that one imagines when thinking of Anaheim. He tells the story he has seen throughout his childhood a few blocks from Disneyland.
Camargo transferred to California State University of Fullerton where he continued to strengthen and develop his skills. He started to put them to the test by working professionally for many media outlets including the OC Weekly.
He was able to capture a time when a part of Anaheim experienced death at the hands of police. Anaheim’s residents had had enough and decided to protest by coming together to show their unity against the injustice of police.
Soon after graduation, Camargo got a fellowship with The Chicago Reporter saying goodbye to his hometown and heading east to follow his passion.
There he photographed themes of “race, immigration and segregation and housing, all the stuff combined that I focused on at home,” Camargo explained.
His favorite type of picture right now is the portrait. As for the future, “I want to point the camera at myself and do more self-portrait work that will talk about identity, assimilation and immigration,” said Camargo.
His feature magazine “The Uneventful Life of a Chicano Boy” was recently released in April and sold out within hours. The magazine is an array of his photography from Los Angeles, Anaheim and Chicago.
He currently works for a publication company that releases short journals that feature life in Chicago.
Working as a photographer hasn’t stopped Camargo from helping his community. He continues to give back by speaking to youth and other artists about his work and how they can impact the images and reality of their lives around them. Camargo is teaching others to, “point the camera at their community to change the narrative.”