Sam Comen
Sam Comen

Saying the word immigration has become an invitation to an argument. Perhaps that was always true. Throughout U.S. history, the nation has engaged in an ongoing struggle over who should have the right to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We have welcomed some, but turned others away or denied them opportunities once they are here. At the same time, we call ourselves a nation of immigrants and take pride in the mythology of the melting pot.

Recognizing this dichotomy, The Newest Americans presents rich, personal narratives and diverse faces to examine, on an intimate level, the intersection of immigration and American identity today.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, the political climate was saturated by efforts to build a wall, enact a Muslim ban, and carry out mass deportations.

Against this backdrop, Sam Comen and Michael Estrin photographed and interviewed dozens of new citizens at two naturalization ceremonies in Los Angeles during February and March of 2017. They asked these newest Americans to tell them how and why they came to this country and to share their American Dreams.

Artist Bios

  • Sam Comen

    Sam Comen is a documentary photographer based in Los Angeles. His work is commissioned by national publications and collected by leading institutions. Through his portrait essays, Comen investigates American identity in order to facilitate tolerance, understanding, and inclusivity between disparate communities.

  • Michael Estrin

    Michael Estrin is a novelist and journalist living in Los Angeles.


  • United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.

    Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.

The Newest Americans

 archive : Photoville LA

Featuring: Sam Comen Michael Estrin

Presented by: United Photo Industries (UPI)
  • United Photo Industries (UPI)


View Location Details Annenberg Space for Photography

Century Park,
2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles,
CA 90067

Location open 24 hours

Related Events

Sep 132017

OPENING NIGHT with Talking Eyes Media’s Newest Americans

“Newest Americans” reaches across media formats: documentary film, photography, fiction and nonfiction essays, podcasting and interactive storytelling.

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