Italian born artist Gusmano Cesaretti (b. 1946, Lucca, Italy) is a self-taught photographer and one of the first to document the East Los Angeles community in the early 1970s. He created a prolific body of work which introduced viewers to an alternative lifestyle, in particular, the graffiti and Lowrider scene. It was through his fascination and curiosity that led Cesaretti to meet Chaz Bojórquez. Developing a mutual respect and friendship built over years, he continued to photograph not only the Lowrider scene but an entire graffiti community and their lives. Cesaretti’s work is an enduring witness to the past. His approach to photography is personal, using his camera as a tool to create contact, closeness and intimacy. It is an investigation of the emotional states that control us, inspire us and keep us moving. The images capture life’s complexities: people, places and the relationships between them. Cesaretti shoots primarily in black and white, creating stark visual and emotional contrasts.
Self-Portrait by Gusmano Cesaretti, East Los Angeles, 1985. Photo © Gusmano Cesaretti.