'Neighbors' Project Mends Fences | NBC 7 San Diego

'Neighbors' Project Mends Fences

'Fences' is now a national project in 28 states

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    The project on display is called Neighbors. It all started a year ago when photographer John Mireles began taking portraits of his neighbors and placing them on his fence in Logan Heights. NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports. (Published Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016)

    The project on display is called Neighbors. It all started a year ago when photographer John Mireles began taking portraits of his neighbors and placing them on his fence in Logan Heights. 

    “Having the images on the fence was sort of my way of giving back to the community in a way and not just punching people out of my space but sort of bringing them into my space,” Mireles says.

    Fences are usually used to keep people out, but Mireles says he wants to bring people together.

    Over time the images have faded, they've been graffitied a bit and one of the images was even stolen, but Mireles says overall people have reacted positively.

    “Once the photos went on the wall people went out of their way to say hello. I'd walk out of my house and people would wave, ‘hey John!’ So it was kind of an ice breaker in a way,” Mireles tells NBC 7.

    Mireles says when he first put the photos up he was nervous.

    “This has never been done before. Who puts up these huge photos on the outside of their house?” he says.

    The project is now much bigger than Mireles' home. It has grown to 28 states and counting - bringing a message of unity in a time perhaps, when it's most needed.

    “I haven't seen anything like this, this is something so unique,” photographer William Bay says. “It's completely and totally relevant right now because of the Trump thing, the election, that whole cycle, the whole process of the derision and division that its cause in the nation.”

    “So there's actually been sort of a dialogue between the images and the community, Mireles says. “These images are not just a snapshot of a moment of time but time has taken its toll on these images."

    What was once just an ice breaker has now turned into a nationwide project spanning 28 states and counting where everyone is a neighbor.