Q&A: William Camargo — Origins and Displacements


  1. Q. Have you recently been living by any life philosophy?
    A. I think because of the last year and a half we have been having, one philosophy I have been living life by recently is respecting people’s space, listening, and offering what I can.
    Q. What will baffle future generations about our day and age?
    A. I think how badly we have done in this pandemic, to be honest, and how a country as rich as the U.S, not everyone has housing, healthcare and how badly we treat BIPOC people in a country that will be a majority of people of color in the next 50 years or so.
    Q. Are you aware of any conspiracies?
    A. I am aware of many conspiracies, usually, I find out about them from various late-night tv shows, that sometimes make fun of them. But I also do know that conspiracies are not something new because of the technology we have.
    Q. What is it that interests you about photography?
    A. What interests me at the beginning of my career was the powerful tool photography is, but as well as how it was used to perpetuate oppression. Photography has always help me to confront myself, my place, and the future, it was a way to express myself without speaking.
    Q. What is the worst thing about city life?
    A. I think the invisible separation cities have, I have lived in Chicago, Mexico City, and currently am back in my hometown in Anaheim. I have seen the redlining, the pushing out of community members, etc. As well as the big houseless problems big cities have, we spend too much money on the defense budget, you have billionaires flying into space in penis-shaped rockets when they can easily fix the houseless issue.
    Q. What part of the planet would you like to explore?
    A. I think I would want to really dive into where my family came from in Guerrero, Mexico, discover my indigenous ancestor’s stories, which I rarely hear. All of South America would be great.
    Q. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be?
  2. A. It would be with the amazing Subcommandate Ramona, she was an indigenous woman in the EZLN in Mexico, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Her leadership brought together many indigenous communities together during the mid-’90s to fight against settle colonial policies enacted by the U.S, Mexico, and Canada.
    Q. Pick a field of science to be an expert within.
    A. Neuroscience
    Q. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t?
  3. A. I think the times I spent with my grandma before she passed away, I was a teenager when she passed, but she would tell us amazing stories about her time in Mexico in the early 1900s.
    Q. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side.
  4. A. Trying out sneakers
    Q. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen.
  5. A. There are many but maybe Lorna Simpson’s Five Day Forecast, an amazing piece of art everyone should see.
    Q. How often do you take other people’s advice?
  6. A. Pretty often, to be honest, I appreciate people’s advice as long as they are not gaslighting me.
    Q. Which living person do you most admire?
  7. A. Currently Bell Hooks, her writings have been amazing and helpful in transitions in my life.
    Q. What was the last crime you witnessed?
  8. A. That depends on what the readers think is a crime, probably right now is the U.S letting our planet burn.
    Q. What is the best way to educate yourself?
  9. A. Reading books, especially books by BIPOC folks, at least for me.
    Q. What is the next book you want to read?
  10. A. I want to re-read Assata Shakur An Autobiography
    Q. Ultimate camera?
  11. A. Any 8×10 camera
    Q. Most used camera?
  12. A. Mamiya 7
    Q. Describe a cheap thrill.
  13. A. Music.
    Q. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to.
  14. A. I think it would be the Zapatista uprising of 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico.
    Q. Which talent would you most like to have?
  15. A. Contortionist, just to do it in random places and the oddest times.
    Q. What is your plan for the next 24 hours?
  16. A. Editing, scanning, picking up prints, listening to music, and picking up produce to distribute in my community.


William Camargo is an Arts Educator, Photo-Based Artist and Arts Advocate born and raised in Anaheim, California, he is currently serving as Commissioner of Heritage and Culture in the city of Anaheim and holds an M.F.A at Claremont Graduate University. He is the founder and curator of Latinx Diaspora Archives an archive Instagram page that elevates communities of color through family photos. He attained his BFA at the California State University, Fullerton, and an AA from Fullerton College in photography.

William has held residencies at Project Art, the Chicago Artist Coalition, ACRE, and at LA Summer held at Otis School of Art and Design. He has also participated in the New York Times Portfolio Review, NALAC’s(National Association of Latino Arts & Culture) Leadership(2018), and Advocacy(2020) Institutes. He is a current member of Diversify Photo an initiative started to diversify the photography industry. He was awarded the Friedman Grant and J. Sonneman Photography Prize from CGU and has given lectures at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Gallery 400(Chicago), University of San Diego, Cal State Long Beach, the Claremont Colleges, USC Roski School of Art, Stanford(upcoming).

Additionally, his work has been shown at the Chicago Cultural Center, Loisaida Center(New York), the University of Indianapolis(IN), Mexican Cultural Center and Cinematic Arts(Los Angeles), Stevenson University(Baltimore), The Cooper Gallery of African and African American Arts at Harvard, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Filter Photo(Chicago), among others.

Located in Southern California.

To see more from William Camargo visit — Website / Instagram.