DENVER — “I’m looking for joy, and it is everywhere here,” Armando Geneyro said as he roamed around the Martin Luther King parade photographing families and celebrations.
Geneyro was born and raised in California and he didn’t pick up a camera until after his time in the military. “Cameras were always around when I was a kid, but it wasn’t until college that I started doing it professionally,” Geneyro said.
Back in 2020, the History Colorado Center reached out to Geneyro to contribute to an upcoming exhibit that aimed to show the build-up of Denver and how its architecture and physical environment have looked over the years; however, Geneyro’s exhibit acted as a precursor and had a different context to it.
The museum wanted him to explore the physical environment of the city and connect it back to the human elements: the people who have shaped and continue to shape Denver today. Geneyro’s photos encapsulated celebration, loss and community — all facets of life.
Armando Geneyro shares his view of Denver
A focus on race is prominent in Geneyro's work; it's a way of increasing representation and also fighting back against stereotypes propagated in the media. “If you look up Denver online, it’s as if the media has — whether subconsciously or unconsciously — erased certain communities of color in Denver,” Geneyro said.
Over the past decade, Denver's population boomed, leading to the gentrification of the city. Geneyro said the media surrounding Denver covers more popularized attractions such as the mountains, marijuana, breweries and the ever-changing landscape of Denver.
“All these things, they’re cool, but Denver is so much more than that and it’s almost like they’re [the media] is selling it to you like a snowy Coachella,” Geneyro joked.
Because of this gentrification and erasure, Geneyro said his work seeks to amplify, “these rich communities and the people that have built this city from the ground up.”
Geneyro attests a lot of his inspiration and work to the culture that he grew up around in Los Angeles. Photographs of lowriders — customized cars that have a lowered body, popularized by Chicano youth in the 1940s — are a huge part of his work.
“Where I come from heavily influences my work. My culture, my community — it’s a lot like L.A. in that sense,” Geneyro remarked.
Contemplating his work, Geneyro believes all these scopes of photography are necessary, but freezing happiness has been special for him. “My purpose with a camera is to document joy,” Geneyro reflected.
Through his process, Geneyro aims to capture this celebration of life candidly through the perspectives of Black and brown communities — communities and cultures that have raised him. As he continues to produce more work, he’s reminded of why he does photography and what he hopes to accomplish with the medium for years to come.
“Hopefully people will remember me for the work I did to represent my people,” Geneyro added.
To see more of Geneyro’s work visit his website here.