John Mireles started his Neighbors project in his hometown of San Diego, California, where he says he literally started take portraits of his neighbors. Since then, he says he’s visited 35 states and taken about 3,000 portraits. Mireles said it was his way of connecting with his predominately African-American neighborhood, and expanded from there after he got a crazy idea to travel to all 50 states.
Mireles says one of the things he’s learned is that Americans are amazingly friendly and welcoming people. What he’s trying to do is create connections across everyone’s differences. He added even Alaskans has more in common with the rest of the United States than they think.
What he typically looks for people who tell a story with their portrait. For example, he would look at what a person is wearing and look for the person’s character and the story they’re trying to tell.
The pictures Mireles takes will be on display at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmusen Center in the fall, just in time for the new addition to open. His portraits will be shown inside the museum as well as outside, to make them accessible to the community.
For more of Mireles’ work, visit his website.