We had the good fortune of connecting with Henry Lara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Henry, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Working a full time and being a husband and father consumes most of my time. But when you have a passion you find the time. As a writer and photographer it is hard to put down inspiration. It is all around me. As an artist you cant do one without the other. Art time is needed as much as family time is needed. They go hand in hand. Balance is they key for me. It’s nutrition. Without it, there is no art.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is based on humans and the human condition. I take long walks throughout LA and talk to people. For the past six years, these conversations have led me to write and photograph over 300 people. I don’t want to say that anything I do sets me apart but my stories are as raw. When you read them, a sense of reality is established. That all I wan to bring to the reader. I’m proud of all the stories and pictures I’ve been able to capture. Recently, Zyzzyva Literary Magazine published eight of my story/photo pairings. They are a well respected Literary Magazine and that was quite the honor. Hitting the streets and looking for stories is no easy task. It takes grit. And you have to carry common sense with you. You also need to be able to read a person when approaching them. Iv’e learned that through years of doing it. Not everyone wants to tell their story. Persistence is the dominant ingredient in my repertoire. I have learned that humans are more open than we think. People want to express themselves. They want to express their feelings and thoughts especially during these times. I want the world to see the human spirit. Some of my stories are darker than others but they are all beautiful in their own way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them to the nicest parts of Los Angeles. I’d want them to see how rich people live. How there is this Los Angeles that is full of glamour. But I would only do that to emphasize how much LA is glamorized. Then I’d take them to South Central LA, to East LA, to Skid Row and show them reality. The LA that most of us can relate to versus the LA only the rich and famous could relate to. I’d want them to see who are the people who really run the city. I’d want them to take notice that in any major city like LA. It takes hard working immigrants and the blue collared to truly see that without these people, Los Angeles would not run properly. Los Angeles is a big cultural hub. I’d take them to eat tacos. Who doesn’t like tacos ? I think I would take them on a food eating tour, especially to the tastiest food vendors that are out there. There is so much to cover that one week would not suffice. A dodgers game and a few hikes would top off the week.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to recognize the people of Los Angeles. They are my biggest inspiration. Without them there is no Angeleno Heart ( My Instagram page dedicated to stories of the People of Los Angeles). The dishwashers, porters, housekeepers, cooks, bus drivers, mechanics, small shop owners and the homeless is what has made my stories. Reading has also been a constant inspiration in my life. Without it I have no juice to write. Some of my of my favorite authors are Denis Johnson, Charles Bukowski, Jack Black and Luis Alberto Urrea. My kids and their minds are big triggers in my writings and photographs too.
Instagram: Angeleno Heart