My names is Amalia Díaz and I am a Colombian Plant Biologist Ph.D., and photographer based in Austin, Texas since 2009. As a native from Bogotá, I find the main source of my stories in urban environments, their people, and all the individual worlds that develop inside cities.
Portraits of a Changing Economy started in October 2015 as an assignment for my class of advanced visual journalism at UT Austin, and became a personal project since then. Looking for an effective and personal way to document the effects of changing economy in Austin, I found that the process is deeper and more complex than just talking about gentrification or the obvious changes in the city landscape. Approaching the whole process from the point of view of people involved, humanizes the situation and puts a face to it.
Gentrification is a phenomenon that affects people lives, even when we do not see it. Behind every new neighborhood, every new condo, every new business, there are always stories. Stories of hope that have started to be written by the ones who arrived, and old intimate stories that have vanished forever with the absence of the ones who left. Little do people know about the many lives that changed in order to make it possible. The main goal of this project is to humanize gentrification. To show the faces and stories of the ones who are in the middle of the process and to help preserving memories and stories that are fleeting in times of economic change in one of the fastest-growing cities in America: Austin, Texas.