SAN BERNARDINO CITY RESIDENT INTERVIEWS
My project aims to combine portraits with interviews to get insight from San Bernardino residents about their day-to-day and perspective on the city. My initial goal was to extend a previous portrait series that focused on approaching people walking in the downtown area and striking up a conversation about their day. I would hand out water bottles as a way to engage with them, which would lead to a conversation and request for a portrait.
The majority of those previously involved were homeless individuals, which pushed me to rework the project around SB residents as a way to expand the project without the negative associations of only focusing on this particular group. I didn’t want to be exploitative, so I was able to rework it in a way that distances away from a focus on "homelessness," and instead treat them as residents and members of our community. Some of the questions I would like to reflect on/address would be on finding out what binds/connects us as San Bernardino residents. Get insight into what our residents feel are some major issues impacting our city, and what keeps them connected/rooted to SB.
I met Santiago (24) in downtown San Bernardino, across the Regal Cinema. We talked about his life growing up in the city and what he’d like to see improved.
As a former student at San Bernardino High School, we connected about his time at SBHS and talked a bit about his current goals. Santiago was easy to talk to and open about how he views the city’s current state.
I asked him if there was anything the city could change or improve, and to think about the impact it could have. After taking some time to think, Santiago thought the new SB Justice Center was great because adding new buildings could improve the city’s image.
FABIAN LEON TORRES
My name is Fabian Leon Torres (@wiskrshoots), and I am a documentary and portrait photographer with roots in San Bernardino. Growing up in San Bernardino throughout its decline, I turned to photography as a way to express my thoughts and feelings. I remember feeling bogged down by all these changes happening around me that it pushed me towards capturing moments as mementos of the past. I eventually became inspired by San Bernardino Generation Now's work towards rebuilding San Bernardino through the arts, and my outlook changed. I focused more on the present and the ways photography could be used to support and uplift the people around me. I started viewing photography as a means of expression, a way to represent my community, and bring attention to some of the issues that are important to me. I enjoy showing some of the hidden gems of San Bernardino and hope that it has a positive impact in changing the ways people feel about their home and those around them.