Years of experience: 3 to 5
Héctor Vaca Cruz is a Latino street photographer who has lived in Charlotte since 2008. Born in New York and raised in South Carolina, he is of Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican heritage.
As the son of immigrants living in the south, Héctor grew up always feeling different, like he did not fit in. He felt less valued than his white friends, many of whom came from upper middle class and rich families. Because of this, he felt like he did not have a voice.
Through photography, Héctor explores the themes of privilege, immigration, racism, nationalism, colorism, classism, and identity. He makes his images, to spark dialogue, in order to better understand these issues and find solutions. More importantly, his photos give a voice to those who have been stifled by society, based on privilege, prejudice, and oppression.
Growing up in the skateboarding and punk rock culture, both of which influenced the direction of his career and art, Héctor found his voice. In college, he published his own zine to make his and others' voices heard.
For his day job, Héctor is a community organizer who empowers oppressed communities to lead the movement toward equity and systemic change. Héctor is also a member of the Charlotte-based Latinx artist-led OBRA Collective.