Street Stories by Castro Frank

Editor Carrie Ivy, Photography, October 18th, 2016

"...I felt free, but I had no one to go to."

Castro Frank Photographer
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CASTRO FRANK: “Street Stories” is an ongoing collection of images captured in the streets of my city, Los Angeles. Below , with each portrait is a testimony from the subject of the photograph.

Castro Frank Street Photography

“My childhood dream, was to one day be an actor.”

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Castro Frank Street Photography
Inspired by pop art culture, this man paints on the streets in Los Angeles, wearing only a mask that he made out of paper mâché.

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Castro Frank Street Photography

D’angelo, 68 years old, was born and raised in LA.

“A month ago I was walking down the street near the fucking meth clinic, I noticed that there was two guys in front of me, I payed no attention to it, as I tried to walk by just out of nowhere one of the men pulls out this hammer and BAMM!! hits me right in the mouth knocking my whole bottom teeth out. For no reason! I never said a word to these guys or anything. If I could tell the guy one thing? I’d say, ‘Here take this, I forgive you punk!'”

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Castro Frank Street Portraits

“I’m known around here by the name of Mama. I was born in Cambodia. I was born with no lower right arm and only two fingers on the left wrist. We didn’t have good medical doctors back home so my family never found out what the condition was. I guess it’s a rare disease but I’ve survived this far. I think the biggest challenge was finding someone who loved me. I thought I would never find love because I would be a burden to a man but one day, I found love. He was a soldier fighting in my country and it was bad in my country then, but he gave me hope. Anyway, I guess we fell in love. He brought me over to the United States and we got married, everything seemed like a fairy tale, life was really something here in the U.S. and I couldn’t believe it. During the time we were married, my husband would have a lot of episodes. He would beat me so bad almost every day. I didn’t mind it, I thought it was normal here in the states but once I found out that what he was doing was wrong, I left him real fast. It was bitter sweet because I felt free, but I had no one to go to. I have no family, I have no kids. I had to get government assistance because I couldn’t work, it’s really hard to survive off of $400 a month. So time after time, I have to ask the public for help. I mean I don’t like it, but what else can I do?”

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Castro Frank Street Portraits

I was strolling along Chinatown, when I noticed this man dressed in traditional mariachi attire. I approached him and asked where he was coming from. He said that he was a singer at church, I was surprised because I assumed it would’ve been some kind of Mexican restaurant where he maybe plays or sings. The man was such a gentleman, after making this image, he wished me luck with blessings and went on his way.

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Castro Frank Street Photography

“GOD CAN, honestly I got this tattoo to remind myself everyday when I look in that mirror that God has my back. It makes me feel strong, you know what I’m saying? When I was little ass kid, the only person that was there for me was my grand mama. Even though she was there, she never really showed me love. Don’t get me wrong, I love her but she always made me feel like I couldn’t do much with myself. You know what I’m saying? I had no male role model or anyone to made me feel wanted. So I leaned towards the streets, and yeah, I was rolling with neighborhood gangs and shit but I did it to feel like someone had my back. But yeah man, this tattoo really helps me try to be open to other people and understand them. Like when I look at it, I just feel like, shit man, it’s hard to explain.” -King Kunta Blue

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Castro Frank Street Portraits

Spooked woman in Los Angeles CA 2015

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Castro Frank Street Portraits

Woman on Skid Row 2014

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Castro Frank Street Portraits

What happened? Were you in a fight?

“No, but people usually do think I got beat up, or they think I was in a brutal fight. But that’s not the case at all. I mean although I don’t mind anyone thinking that, maybe it makes me looks like a badass. But the truth is I actually suffer from seizures. Two days ago, I was walking down the street and out of nowhere I blanked out, I guess I landed on the pavement face first. Because I woke up looking like this.”

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Castro Frank Street Photography

“I am originally from New York, but I left my home state a really long time ago.”

Why did you leave?

“Because I didn’t want to deal with my family. I didn’t want to deal with all the headaches and fighting over money. It’s a very sad thing to lose the ones you love the most over money; it’s stupid.”

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Castro Frank Street Photography

 

What’s your name?

“Ragly Shawn.”

Where you from?

“South Bronx.”

How long have you been addicted to crack cocaine for?

“Well, I been addicted for quite some years… maybe 5 or 6.”

What does crack make you feel, what’s the sensation you get when you hit the pipe?

“Well it doesn’t hit my body because it’s not heroin, it’s not a physical thing but you know because it doesn’t go into your heart, it more controls my mind. It’s a psychological drug and it puts you on a high, a plane ride…. your plane, and these people, are your passengers. And you just feel good for two minutes. *laughs*. . .It’s sad.”
Have you ever thought about going into rehab?

“I did seven programs, and none of them work, you know. Both programs used to be really strict and brutal, maybe I needed that but that time was up… And I wasn’t gonna wear no sign on my chest saying ‘hey yo drug addict you need some fucking help’ because that’s what they use to do to people.”

For all those young people that haven’t experience drugs yet, but have some kind of curiosity of trying drugs, what will you tell them?

“I would say, don’t try it if you’re afraid of death, if you have parents or a mother who loves you. Listen to them, don’t try to be curious to figure out… you know.. this drug if you don’t have people around trying it with you because you have friends, you lose some and you make some more,  you make money, you lose some and it all connects somehow, numerology. Study it.”

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Castro Frank Photography Nailed MagazineB. August 28th 1983, Los Angeles, CA native, Castro Frank, is a contemporary street photographers. His style fuses a journalistic approach with an artistic eye to create imagery that is raw and speaks powerfully of our time. His compassion and empathy for the disenfranchised within our society has prompted him to capture them in a way that attempts to restore the humanity and dignity that has been forgotten. Castro turns his lens towards systematic and societal issues that plague our nation.

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Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.