OFor the past 12 years, an extraordinary grassroots movement has been working alongside global sporting events such as the Football, Cricket and Rugby World Cups, the English Premier League and the Olympic Games.

Ethnically diverse youth from developing and developed countries have turned themselves into professional photographers to capture these sporting events within their own lives and communities.

These young people often come from families of extreme poverty, who are excluded from formal education, employment opportunities, shelter and basic food.

The catalyst was an initiative called the Wembley Foundation to Soweto, which offers photography training and on-the-job training and develops life skills that will enable these young people to move forward and make a positive contribution. The global charity strives to change the narrative of art accessibility and encourage big dreams for future artists.

The foundation forms collaborative partnerships with arts, sports and government institutions to provide a wide range of professional experiences as well as educational benefits to the wider community. Its mission is to create a global network of learning opportunities for young people to develop self-confidence, ambition and confidence through a passion for photography, regardless of medium or background. In LA, the project was realized in collaboration with From the Streets to the Set, Los Feliz Films, SEA and Homies Unidos.

Ride high - the Santa Monica helicopter on its trajectory

Angela Sikin

Angela Sikin
Beautiful artworks adorn a lowrider in Hope Park, Los Angeles

  • Riding high – the Santa Monica helicopter on its trajectory (top); Designer Hood at da Hood – a beautiful work of a low rider in Hope Park, Los Angeles (above); Someone to watch over me – the watchman at the wall on Olvera Street, Little Mexico; The Tattooed Merchant – a t-shirt merchant has set up shop in San Pedro

A guard and a salesman

Mistress of Disguise - a disguise shop in Los Angeles Plaza

  • Mrs. Mask – a mask shop in Los Angeles Plaza (above); Spread – this improvised food is usually collected by men during confinement. They use ramen noodles as a base and add other foods that each inmate has stocked up on. It is prepared in a large plastic bag before sharing (below)

Spread - this improvised food is usually collected by men during confinement.  They use Ramen noodles as a base and add other foods that each inmate has stocked up on.  It is prepared in a large plastic bag before distribution
Reflection - Santa Monica Pier at sunset

Santos Gomez

Santos Gomez
That's what you are - a clown in the heart of Hollywood
Man's best friend - walking the dog on the 6th Street Bridge
Wembley2Soweto Foundation Student
Heavenly street food

Jannat Enriquez

Jannat Enriquez
A man keeps cool while walking the streets of Philippines, Los Angeles

  • A food vendor – a Mexican street cook looking at his produce in the afternoon sun; warm welcome – shop owner displays his products near MacArthur Park, Los Angeles; Me and my shadow – a man walks the streets of Philippine Town

Street Queen - the ultimate hand accessory

Heidi Sandoval

Heidi Sandoval
Body Shot - National Champion, Chris, trains at TG Boxing Gym, Los Angeles

  • Street Queen – the ultimate hand accessory; Body Shot – National Champion, Chris, trains at TG Boxing Gym, Los Angeles; Silver Rider – biker in the heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Silver Rider - biker in the heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles
If the cap fits - a low-riding fan in Hope Park, Los Angeles
Ray - low-rider story

Skateboarder and Catherine the Wheel
Making Shapes – Skateboarding in Echo Park, Los Angeles; Sparkling Sparks – Catherine Wheel at sunset in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Soaring above a helicopter - a helicopter flies into the sunset on the Santa Monica Pier

Angel Torres

Angel Torres
Ambitious B***ard - two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz gives insight into the world of paparazzi and takes some great portraits of himself.

  • Soaring from a helicopter – a helicopter flies into the sunset on the Santa Monica Pier; Honorable B***ard – two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz teaches students about the world of paparazzi and takes some great portraits of himself; The Fall is a new arrival at Muscle Beach; Hanging out with friends – working the chains in Venice Beach

A new return to Muscle Beach and working the chains in Venice Beach
Below: Hollywood Walk of Fame – a booker hopes to appear on the Walk of Stars; Grateful and proud – the three Homies oversee Westlake, East Los Angeles

Hollywood fame - a busker hopes to appear on the avenue of stars
Inked and Proud are three roommates in Westlake, East Los Angeles
Topsy Turvy - a young man on the palm trees, Santa Monica beach

Ava Yanez

Ava Yanez
Kindred Spirits - Georgina from Leicester and Angel from East LA
Spread out - three friends are chilling under the 6th Street Bridge
No pain, no gain - a man works out at TG Boxing Gym in South Central LA as his son looks on

  • Spread Out – Three friends chilling under the 6th Street Bridge; No pain, no gain – a man works out at TG Boxing Gym in South Central LA as his son looks on

Thinking about things - a booker entertains people

Eric Valasquez

Eric Valasquez
Behind the Wheel - the interior of a 1950s low-rider on Whittier Boulevard

Behind the Wheel – Interior of a 1950s lowrider on Whittier Boulevard; Beneficiary – Chris at the start of Route 66; Head Shot – The credo is announced.

Shilling for the meter - the floodlights go out on LA Galaxy v Vancouver, but fans find a quick solution

George Rodriguez

George Rodriguez
Market Stand and Deliver - San Pedro street fundraiser rapper

Boxers
Seconds in – a quick sip of water between sparring rounds; Fan Club – young boxer looks for his next partner at TG Boxing Gym; Sweat Box – A boxer stretches before entering the ring; Store security – a store trader keeps a close eye on his stock

Sweat Box - A boxer stretches before entering the ring
Store security - a store trader keeps a close eye on his stock

Leica Camera donated camera equipment to the Wembley Foundation, which a group of eight students from South Central and East LA (pictured below) used during the project. Under the tutelage of internationally renowned photographer Jillian Edelstein and former students who passed on their knowledge, the group explored photography techniques in locations ranging from the Getty Center to the LA Galaxy Stadium to the electrifying atmosphere of a downtown boxing gym. them to capture images and illustrate stories from the LA landscape. At the end of the project, the students had the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Leica flagship store and gallery in Los Angeles, where they were able to discuss the program and the inspirations behind their portfolios.

portraits of students



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