Cristian Espinoza has been capturing the essence of youth street life for some time, and his film photography provides a raw, authentic look into the underground and art culture of the DMV area. We had the opportunity to send him a few questions.

R. Anthony Harris: Your work feels like a digital diary of your life. Is this intentional?

Cristian Espinoza: It wasn’t my intention, but I suppose it does read like that. My true passion lies in showcasing the vibrant underground and art culture that thrives in the DMV. There is such a great DIY scene in the city. I would love to cover more music, fashion, and go on tour.

Photographer Cristian Espinoza Interview by R Anthony Harris_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo by Cristian Espinoza @chaos_esper

RAH: What are you hoping people understand about you by looking through your work?

CE: I hope that they see that there are always little pockets of sunshine everywhere you go.

RAH: Love the street level view of Richmond life found in your work. What scenes in town do you run in?

CE: When I’m in Richmond, you’ll usually catch me at a hardcore show, hip-hop show, DJ set, meeting new and interesting people, or outside the city at my friend’s farm. I tend to gravitate to the subcultures and underground scenes a lot; they are just so much fun and have such an inviting energy.

Photographer Cristian Espinoza Interview by R Anthony Harris_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo by Cristian Espinoza @chaos_esper

RAH: Are you looking for anything specific when you go out to shoot?

CE: I like to document the culture of wherever I am. Good times and good people. It’s sort of like a social documentary. I would love to shoot more skateboarding and biking.

RAH: What do you love about Richmond? What do you not like as much about Richmond?

CE: I love the art, history, architecture, street festivals, people, and nature. I hope the parking and infrastructure improve.

Photographer Cristian Espinoza Interview by R Anthony Harris_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo by Cristian Espinoza @chaos_esper

RAH: You mentioned in our chat before this interview that you shoot film — what is your thinking behind that decision? Is film more “valid” over digital?

CE: Shooting film just feels so much more unforgiving, and there’s a beauty in that. Getting a roll of film back almost feels like getting a Christmas present. It definitely makes you think more about what you shoot and if it’s worth it because of the limited number of frames you get per roll. There has been so much new tech available in digital photography, such as the current mirrorless systems and updates in low light and image stabilization. Digital photography has come a long way and is still evolving, but my heart will always choose analog photography.

RAH: Any shoutouts?

CE: My friends Brandi and Cee The Scholar for always being supportive and inspiring me. My baby edamame. The photo homies Sohrab, Kaileaa, and Cameron. The crew at District Camera, the Red Panda Party, Homme DC, Brooklyn Film Camera, and all the creatives out there that keep pushing themselves.

Cristian’s photos are a window into the lives of the city’s youth. See more of his work HERE

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work:

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