In the series “Skate Night” Alejandro Sanchez documents the Black roller-skating community in Los Angeles, CA. This community has been faced with rinks being forced to close their doors and racial discrimination. This series started in 2014 after World on Wheels (Los Angeles, CA) closed its doors in 2013 after being open for more than 3 decades, and Skate Depot (Cerritos, CA) was about to close due to their lease not being renewed after being open for 34 years. Once these rinks closed, the community had to start looking for a new place to skate in SoCal.
Finding new rinks to skate at has been a challenge because "Micro" wheels (small fiberglass wheels used for sliding) are banned at certain rinks to discourage an audience they feel doesn’t fit their esthetic. Micro wheels are a critical part of the style of skating that many in the Black community use in Southern California along with custom skate boots such as dress shoes or sneakers.
Roller Rinks have had a long history of being a critical part of the Black community, serving as refuge, safe haven and overall outlet for entertainment and joy. Despite the efforts of many to stop the Black roller rink scene, they push through and continue to shine and thrive. These images share the moments and values of these spaces.
Alejandro Sanchez Is an artist/educator from El Monte CA. His work is based in community bonding and using photography as a tool to voice experiences, bridging traditions and celebrating the lives of the people around him. He received his MFA from CalArts in 2008, and currently works as Adjunct Professor at a handful of Community Colleges in Southern California and is a high school hockey coach and father to his son Felix.
Foto Forum Santa Fe aims to involve the community through workshops, visiting artist lectures, research, and community outreach. The gallery/photo studio, and darkroom is equipped with a wide array of cameras and processing equipment to produce alternative processes, like platinum palladium, wet plate, and cyanotype, as well as traditional b&w gelatin silver, and digital prints. Foto Forum Santa Fe is committed to educating and providing opportunities to photographers to experience many different forms of analog and digital photography both historical and current. Sage’s vision is to create a space where photographers can meet and work together to exchange ideas and processes of photography and visual story telling.