November 8, 2011 2:00 PM EST

The people I’ve photographed in this series are all former gang members—many of whom spent time incarcerated—before walking through the doors of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention organization in Los Angeles. It’s a place takes people in and sees the potential in them, when many others do not. In shooting and showing this project, I hope I can help everyone can see the subjects as humans trying to better themselves.

The style in which I’ve photographed them will draw comparisons to a mug shot. Almost all of these people have been arrested and had a mug shot taken. I’ve flipped that idea and made a more beautiful version of an ugly picture from their past. Just like what the subjects themselves are trying to do with their own lives.

Adam Amengual is a Los Angeles-based portrait photographer. For more information on Homeboy Industries click here.

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