J Raymond Mireles’ bread and butter is commercial and editorial photography. But like many professional photographers, he’s got passion projects — the more conceptual-based work that belongs in art galleries instead of ad campaigns.
For his personal projects, Mireles has crossed the country in search of interesting people who aren’t often the subject of fine-art photos. He’s turned his lens toward the Bakken formation oil-field workers, subversive housewives, desert dwellers and other under-the-radar subcultures.
He didn’t have to travel too far for his most recent art project. Mireles simply walked out his door and started snapping photos of his Logan Heights neighbors. He printed them and mounted the big, striking portraits on a fence that wraps around his home on Imperial Avenue. The photos beautifully capture the diversity of his neighborhood by featuring a patchwork of black and brown faces.
He told me that the fence, which has transformed the sidewalk into a makeshift outdoor art gallery, and the upcoming Oct. 10 public reception are meant to start a conversation about race relations in San Diego.
“It’s using art as a form of integration,” he said. “And I want to do it in a way that isn’t too preachy or forced.”
Mireles hopes this is the first of many more photo-filled walls and fences to come that will offer a window into the rich cultural diversity of Logan Heights and its inhabitants.
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