Unsung Heroes Los Angeles


The images and video contained in “Portraits of Compassion” are the creations of four artists who seek to use their talents and skills to create a better future for Los Angeles County. Under the leadership of Noé Montes, their goal was to capture not just the faces and facts of L.A.’s unsung heroes, but the underlying passion, commitment and joy that drive their service to the community.

Noe MontesNoé Montes (Lead Photographer)

My subject, my inspiration, is Los Angeles. Every day, we’re bombarded by negative images of our community, who we are and what we stand for. Through this project, I’m helping to push back against that. Photography is universal, a language everyone understands. The images in this exhibit are imprinted with the passion of these heroes, imbued with their love and commitment to others. Sharing their stories is a reminder that I have the ability and the responsibility to follow in their footsteps.

Learn more about Noé Montes’ work at noemontes.com.

Stella KalininaStella Kalinina (Photographer)

Every photograph is a moment that only happens once. The choices and decisions I make in capturing it are all to serve the story, creating a moment that moves people to connect with the subject. It’s a gift to bear witness to such amazing individuals. What binds Los Angles County together is our drive to create, to build, to make. These heroes are using that drive to build something bigger than themselves, to create new ideas and initiatives and make an impact on their communities.

Learn more about Stella Kalinina’s work at stellakalinina.com.

Sam ComenSam Comen (Photographer)

If you look, every block in Los Angeles is alive with stories. Every inch of it teems with generations of struggles and triumphs. As I get older, I understand more and more how brief each generation’s time here on earth really is. The heroes I photographed are making their time count. They’re working to better life for those around them and those they’ll never meet — it’s inspiring. Working with them taught me that everyone has the power to make a difference, and that all of us have a role to play.

Learn more about Sam Comen’s work at samcomen.com.

Shireen AlihajiShireen Alihaji (Filmmaker)

As a human being, our existence is an impression that shapes our world. So it is important to help individuals find their purpose, because the lines drawn through their path frame society. There is an architecture to compassion that can be accessed when we learn how we serve best. I am dedicated to helping people communicate and realize their truth in the process, because I believe when someone starts to make sense of themselves, the entire world starts to make sense.

Learn more about Shireen Alihaji’s work at blueveilfilms.com.