Auerelio José Barrera, Photographer
Aurelio José Barrera is a native Angelino from East LA who has lived on the Eastside all of his life. Barrera attended puiblic school and went to Cal State Long Beach. After 25 years in the Los Angeles Times Photo Department as a shooter and editor, Barrera is currently a Senior Photo Editor at Prensa Internacional . “Documenting Latino life in LA is what keeps me going.”
Martha Benedict, Photographer
Martha Benedict is a photographer living in the Northeast Los Angeles community of Montecito Heights. She makes a regular habit of taking pictures of the eastside region including dazzling sunrises, inspiring sunsets, scenic vistas, space shuttle flyovers, art openings and local events. Over a decade ago, she left the hills of Studio City and landed near Flat Top. She volunteers at the nearby Audubon Center and serves as chair of the Debs Park Advisory Board. A graduate of UCLA, she has deep roots in Southern California. She is descended from an early San Bernardino settler of five generations ago who had fled from the Mormons. She is also related to the Benedicts of Benedict Canyon.
Ana Contreras, Writer
Ana Facio Contreras has worked as a newspaper reporter for 10 years, writing for several newspapers in California including the Contra Costa Times and the Orange County Register. For the last three years, she has been a freelance reporter for the New York Times national desk and Los Angeles bureau, contributing reporting on major local and national stories, including the historic presidential election and the economic crisis. During her career, she has covered nearly every beat, including crime, city hall, ethnic communities, and education. She earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Cal State University, Northridge.
Marni Epstein, Writer
Marni Epstein is a freelance writer and music journalist who has also worked in both the film and digital media industries. Writing from a young age, at thirteen she pitched her first television show to ABC affiliates. A native Seattlelite, Ms. Epstein originally moved to Los Angeles to attend USC and now resides in Echo Park. She has spent the last 5 1/2 years in digital media at both FOX and Sony Pictures. With a biting wit and an a ear for catchy, evocative new music, Ms. Epstein parlayed her writing prowess and love of music into positions writing for several Los Angeles-based websites, including LA Music Blog. Her musical tastes lie somewhere between the gritty, rhythmically-charged pathos of Motown’s early beginnings and the glitzy dance floor synths of today’s new wave resurgence. Ms. Epstein has a B.S. in Business and is currently pursuing a M.A in Historic Preservation.
Nicole Possert, Writer
Nicole Possert, raised around Detroit Michigan, has an acute passion for urban history and the sense of place. After transplanting herself to Los Angeles, she quickly gravitated to the historic center of the city and settled in the neighborhood of Highland Park. For almost 25 years, she has explored the layered history, architecture, art, environment and cultures of the Arroyo Seco neighborhoods as an artist, writer, historic preservationist and environmentalist – both professionally and as a community volunteer. Possert holds a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Central Michigan University.
Jesus Sanchez, Publisher & Writer
Jesus Sanchez has worked as a newspaper journalist and blogger for nearly 25 years, reporting primarily on business news for such publications as USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. After covering a variety of beats for the Times’ Business Section, Sanchez served as one of the newsroom’s first online reporters. He now publishes a community-based news blog, The Eastsider LA. Sanchez studied journalism at East Los Angeles College and received his bachelors degree from Cal State Long Beach, where he majored in business. The Los Angeles native lives in Echo Park
Valentina Silva, Writer
Valentina Silva is native of suburban Los Angeles, who now makes her home on the Eastside. She’s been a professional copywriter for 5 years and publishes Eastside Food Bites, a blog about LA food culture from an east-of-the-river perspective. Her fashion, food and travel articles have been featured in Entertainment Today, Time Magazine and Vogue China. She studied English, receiving her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach and her Masters from Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Jesse Saucedo, Photographer
Jesse Saucedo, a Los Angeles artist interested in urban life, is currently working on an online, photo-a-day project documenting a years worth of daily observations. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles but family ties and friendships keep him on the Eastside. Saucedo studied art and photography at Los Angeles City College and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cal State University, Los Angeles.