Power and Persistence: Grassroots Activists and Musicians in L.A.

by Crystal Shaw on June 14, 2016

Warren Hill, an Emmy-award winning television cameraman and emerging still photographer, has been documenting grassroots community organizing groups supported by Liberty Hill as well as communities benefiting from Prop. 47* and jazz and blues musicians performing in and around Los Angeles.

It’s only natural that Liberty Hill would want to uplift his work.  Co-organized by Venice Arts, the exhibit, Power and Persistence: Grassroots Activists and Musicians in L.A., introduces the environmental portraits of Warren, who’s been shooting since 2012. Warren has immersed himself in a world of activism. He has followed a tenant organizer from door to door, rallied with students on City Hall steps, heard workers describe how their bosses cheat them of pay, and seen how close a foul-smelling oil rig is to a child’s bedroom window. As he makes individual portraits, Warren talks to the people he photographs, slowing down to hear the whole tale. In a group, he finds dynamic action in expressions and gestures. 

A reception for the exhibit will take place on June 18, the eve of Juneteenth, a touchstone moment significant to Liberty Hill as an opportunity to recommit to our mission to end racism and injustice.  Among those participating in the program during the reception will by L.A. based journalist and essayist Lynell George.  A snapshot of her essay for the event reads…


For the socially conscious artist, the work’s very essence serves as a raised voice for a community without one. But to be a community’s eyes—to visually express disparity and injustice in all of its immediacy and vividness precisely as those in the struggle see it—is at once powerful and profound.


Warren Hill, who at 67, is an emerging still photographer. He has been, for the past several years, involved in two L.A. communities: the world of grassroots social-justice community organizers and their allies; and the jazz and blues scene in and around Los Angeles. Everyone has a story and Warren’s images convey the feelings, experiences and emotions of the people he photographs.

Warren will also be featured at the Los Angeles Public Library in downtown L.A. as part of the Photographer’s Eye, where he will participate in an informal, in-depth conversation about his work. It takes place Wednesday, June 22 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and it’s free and open to the public.

*California Prop. 47, which was approved on the November 14, 2014 ballot, reduces the classification of most "non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes" from a felony to a misdemeanor.

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