Dennis Olanzo Callwood, "Psycho", 1996, c-print, 30 x 40"

Dennis Olanzo Callwood

Throughout the 1990s, Dennis Callwood has collaborated with incarcerated juvenile street gang members at correctional institutions in Los Angeles County. Callwood first makes portraits of the inmates, and then he asks them to add their own drawings, graffiti, and text to the images, borders, and frames. He considers the series a work-in-progress that fuses the aesthetics of fine art photography with the aesthetics of graffiti produced by gang members and taggers.

Callwood works part-time in LA County’s probation department and devotes his remaining free time to photography. Before working with incarcerated teens, Callwood documented the African American communities in South and Central America. Callwood has also covered the Burning Man festival since its inception in 1994. His work is included in the exhibition African American Artists in Los Angeles A Survey Exhibition: Fade 1990–2003, shown at the University Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles.