Latino leadership, photographed by Long Beach photographer Sean Laughlin. Top row (left to right): Luis Navarro, Fidel Aguayo, Emiliano Uranga ,Arturo Aguayo and Noel Hacegaba. Bottom row (left to right): Robert Molina, Robert Luna, Robert Uranga, Xavier Espino, Lionel Gonzalez.
Long Beach-based photographer Duke Givens is back spreading his message of positivity and unity through a soon-to-be released calendar featuring the diverse men and women who make up the city.
“I’ve been shooting images as you know for a very long time, but conceptually I’ve been working on this series of representing all walks of life in Long Beach from a very classy perspective,” Givens said. “I had a concept to shoot all of the different races of men and women in the city for many years and it's now starting to materialize.”
The first photos released from the calendar showcases Long Beach’s Latino leadership, with the likes of Seventh District Councilmember Roberto Uranga, Lola’s and The Social List owner Luis Navarro and Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, posed in front of the Museum of Latin American Art.
Long Beach photographer Duke Givens (bottom, left) takes a selfie with local Latino leadership.
“So these men represent the core values of strength, honor, integrity, trust and wisdom,” Givens said. “Putting that image together with the backdrop of MOLAA... it’s like these are living art pieces that serve the city… So they’re actually works of art in our city.”
Givens referred to Uranga and Luna as his big brothers and mentors.
About a year ago, Givens' creative partner Antonio Gilbreath photographed Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, Eighth District Councilmember Al Austin and District 64 Assemblymember Mike Gipson, who represents much of Carson, Compton and Wilmington, under the bridge by the Queen Mary.
Currently, Givens is looking to include Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert and City Manager Patrick West and members of the Asian and Jewish community.
While the list of featured women leaders has yet to be finalized, Givens said “we’ve got some heavy hitters coming.”
On the last page of the calendar, Givens envisions a group shot of children holding hands to highlight Long Beach as an international city.
“The work that I do is always based on my mission statement ‘accentuating the positive,’ because there’s always so much negative,” he said. “We’re inundated with so much negativity and we’re at a stage where it’s always about race in certain regards so with me I always try to focus and highlight and shine on those of all races.”
While the calendar doesn’t have a release date yet, Givens hopes to have it ready for the 2018 year. He also wants to bring other local photographers on board to help with the project.
As for distribution, Givens said he would like to work with the city to distribute the calendars for free to all students within the Long Beach Unified School District to “let them know that we are those serving right now, but you all will be the ones serving tomorrow.”
Eventually, all the photographs in the series will be on display at a gallery.
If you’re a photographer interested in working on the calendar, you can message Givens on Facebook.