Toy Cameras

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Photographer Genaro Molina wrote an item for Framework on latimes.com about using toy cameras.
The image above by Lorena Villegas was taken with a Diana in Los Angeles.

The Latin Guitar Collective

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Left to right: Andy Abad, Luis Villegas and Dan Sistos aka The Latin Guitar Collective at Cafe Sevilla in Long Beach. More photos can be seen here.

José Luis Villegas' Home is Everything

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Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story by photographer José Luis Villegas and writer Marcos Breton is, according to Villegas, "A complex story about mostly Black Spanish speaking men, immigration, and baseball, the vehicle that drives the story."

"The main part of the story is the contrast of two kids that grew up together - Miguel Tejada and Mario Encarnacion. Encarnacion was the can't miss prospect and Tejada who was signed as a favor to a scout with the Athletics. The two had careers that went in opposite directions. Tejada went on to be MVP in the American League and a multi-millionaire while Encarnacion struggled in the minor leagues, finally getting a taste of the major leagues before being traded and cut loose. Encarnacion went on to try and restart his career in Taiwan, where he died from a undiagnosed heart problem. Tejada paid to have Mario's body returned as well as paying for his funeral."

It took Villegas 10 years, begining in 1993, to find a publisher. Simon and Schuster published the first book, "Away Games" but it was a word driven book, with a small insert of black and white images in the middle of the book. Sports Publishing later was planning to publish the book but killed the project just a couple of days before it was to go to press because they weren't comfortable selling a book that was Latino driven.

In a Sportsshooter.com story, Villagas states, "The Latin population is the fastest growing in the United States; it's unfortunate that none of the publishers had the desire to use our project to tap into that market. I understand that book publishers are in the business to make money. I just haven't seen very many projects published that could tap the Latin market, as well as catch the attention of people of other cultures like this one. I'm perplexed."

It was not until the project was pitched to Cinco Puntos press did the bilingual (Spanish and English) book with 86 photos get published in 2003.

Villegas also co-authored a book, "Far From Home", pulished by the National Geographic in 2008. The book is half text and half photography. Half the images in the book are Villegas'.

Villegas' work, will be exhibited at the Baseball Hall of Fame opening over the Memorial Day Holiday, through the end of the year.

Captions: (above) Mario Encarnaccion of the West Michigan Whitecaps watches the game from the bench in Lancing, Michigan in 1996. (below) Miguel Tejada is blessed by a Pastor in Santa Domingo before Game 4 of the Dominican World Series in 2006.

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Iguana in Venice

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Lorena's photo of a man with an iguana on his shoulders reminds me of Graciela Iturbide's Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas . This photo was shot with a Diana in Venice.

Lorena's Los Angeles - Holga/Diana gallery includes this photo and others of several Los Angeles landmarks.