Project

Portraits of Exes: Former Gang Members Who Turned on to the Right Path

American photographer Adam Amengual created a series about criminals who turned on to the right path, and showed how proud and iconic they are.

Adam Amengual Age 35

American photographer. Born in New York City, lives and works in Los Angeles. Studied photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and in Parsons. Published his works in Bloomberg Businessweek, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter, Men’s Health, New York Magazine, and Time Magazine.

The people in these images are all former gang members or had spent time incarcerated before walking through the doors at Homeboy Industries. It is a place that takes people in and sees the potential in them when others do not. Through a variety of services, Homeboy Industries helps these men and women redirect their lives and provide them with hope for their futures.

In shooting this project I hope that people can see the subjects for what they are, humans trying to better themselves.

I’ve been attracted to two stories for quite a long time. One is the story of why people join gangs, cults, hardcore religious factions, etc. The other is the story of positive change, how a human can go from being one type of person to another. I worked with Homeboy Industries to gain access to the people they were working with, and I shot them all in one day. The style in which these people have been photographed begs the comparison to a mug shot. A majority, if not everyone in this series has had a mug shot taken of them at one time in their past. I feel I have flipped that old image of them showing them as proud and iconic. It is a visual metaphor for the transformation they are bringing to their own lives.

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