Jose Cotto was born and raised in Great Brook Valley, a housing project in Worcester, Massachusetts. The son of a single mother raising four kids, he often found himself being pulled between the streets and his desire to create. Art was always a means to escape, forget, and remember. Fortunately, Cotto found a way out and landed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Pioneer Valley was about as opposite as one could get from Great Brook Valley. Trying to navigate his way through this new territory, Cotto picked up a film camera and started documenting everything around him. Each image was developed in the darkroom, shining a light on his own life. In 2012, he moved to New Orleans to pursue a masters degree in architecture at Tulane University. New Orleans—the crescent city—has been home to his pops’ family for generations. Having heard stories of this place for years, Cotto knew this had to be his next home. What he did not know was how much of an inspiration New Orleans would become for his work.