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Meet Henry Lara of Angeleno Heart

Today we’d like to introduce you to Henry Lara.

Henry, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I love Los Angeles. I was born and raised here. I have always marveled at the beautiful mixture of people that it takes to make our city run. The rich and famous will always get their time in the news. Their stories cannot be told enough. They are sought after, it’s what sells. I realized that the everyday people who I have dealt with on a personal level were being left out. For example, the mailmen, the boot-makers, the bus drivers, the ice cream vendors, the maids, the junkies, the immigrants, the cooks, the small business owners, the street vendors, the homeless and all the people in our city that are the true backbone and give real strength to the Los Angeles that I grew up seeing. These are the people who carry the bulk of the action. These are the people that I want our city to know about. I wanted their stories to be told and heard.

So in 2015, I started my Instagram page “Angeleno Heart” because I wanted to depict the Los Angeles that I think most people are familiar with and deal with on a day to day basis and not the ones on TV. I haven’t really thought about where I am today. I just do what I do because I love to tell a story… Not all of my stories are pretty, some are dark, but its the reality of our city. I see beauty in every story. There’s so much more I want to tell. I think I am where I need to be for now. I will continue on this storytelling road. It is natural thing for me. I dedicate all my stories to all the people of Los Angeles.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’m not sure about smooth. I don’t just wake up everyday and a story magically appears. If I want a story, I have to go out on to the streets to get the next one. It’s hard work, it takes grit to go up to a complete stranger and assume that they will open up to me. I get rejected often, but when I do get someone to open up, it’s a magical experience. I feel bewitched by the moment. I feel honored that someone is willing to share a piece of their life with me. It’s a gift. Sometimes I don’t get a story the first time I meet the person I approach. Sometimes it takes several visits. And when I’m successful, it’s feels good inside. Sometimes persistence wins. There have been times where I’ve felt defeated. For example, there are times when I think I have a story and at the last minute, the person pulled away. I have respect for that but it doesn’t feel very good. I’m very selfish when it comes to getting them. When I don’t get a story, I feel like I’ve failed to bring the magic to the reader. And that the story just disappeared from my hands because it will never be told, never be written. Each story is important to me.

I’ve also put myself in strange and dangerous situations. I’ve been willing to take some small risks just to get a story. I’ve gone inside tents in Skidrow just to get a story. I’ve spent the night in run-down hotels just to get a story. Although lately, my approach has been much safer. The only real struggle is finding the time to do it. I work a regular job. Sometimes it can be difficult. Especially when I’m at work and I get that itch to go out on to the streets but I can’t do to my responsibilities. I drive all over the city in search for these stories, so I put a lot of tears and wear and miles on my vehicle. That can be a bit challenging at times.

Please tell us about Angeleno Heart.
It’s just me and the vision that I have inside my head of what I want to do. I work on my own. I hit the streets alone to hunt for the next story. I feel that my love for reading stories and poetry is what sets me apart. When I write a story, it’s done in the first person. It’s their voice, not mine. I just write it and deliver it to the reader. Depending on how much information I get from the person, I’ll sometimes throw in some prose or write it in a poetic style. I try to add art into my stories and I always make sure that the story has a title. It feels more personal when it has a title. I feel as If I crafted a one of a kind story when I add a title. So yes, titles are a key element in my stories.

A few of my stories are fiction. I take picture and create a story based on the picture I took. I get a feel for it and start typing, I always make my pictures black and white. It’s just a classic look, there’s no other way to put it. I’m old fashioned. I want the reader to feel some kind of inspiration after they have read it. I also hope that the reader appreciates and understands our city and our people just a bit better after they have read the story. Not all the stories are bright and beautiful. Some of them are dark, but then that is the real world. I want to be genuine with every single story that I produce. All types of artists give themselves titles like writer, photographer, poet, journalist and so on. I don’t call myself anything. I just do what I do. I’m not defined by a title. But maybe I’m an LA storyteller.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I’m not sure. But in 2015 when I started, I might have been one of the few people doing this kind of art. It’s easy to take a picture, but to tell a story, I think it’s a special thing. Many of my followers on Instagram really enjoy them and I try to deliver as much as I can. I think in 10 years there will be many more storytellers of regular people in their respective cities. I hope it grows. I welcome it. Stories are everywhere. Everywhere you look, there is a story to be told. Stories are important, they feed the next generations.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 573 S Boyle Ave, Los Angeles CA 90033
  • Phone: 323-714-9644
  • Email: mrlara0704@gmail.com
  • Instagram: Angelenoheart


Image Credit:
All images taken by me, Henry Lara

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1 Comment

  1. Martin

    November 9, 2019 at 00:05

    Damn, this is important work. He is a master at his craft. Thank you Mr. Lara for shining a light on all of us

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