One and half years ago I started shooting photos of downtown South Bend and abandoned buildings with my iPhone under the Instagram name @West.SB. My purpose at the time was simply to practice my creative skills and show people a new perspective on the city we call home.
In the Fall of 2016 I started to recognize that if I wanted to expand my impact and change our city's hearts and minds on a large scale, I needed to be more strategic with the distribution of my work. People frequently message me privately to express how my photographs have changed their mind about South Bend, but that interaction typically remained private. I began to consider how I could create content and product that would empower people to share the story of South Bend as they go about their daily life.
This conviction led me to create two new components to my work - WestSB.com and a line of t-shirts, West.SB Cloth. Building the website enabled my work to reach a larger audience because the photographs were more easily shared on Facebook and email – my site's stories have now been read in all 50 states. The t-shirt line now empowers my audience to physically express their love for the city in a way that generates conversation as people ask about the design.
My project is wholly aimed at empowering everyday people throughout South Bend with creative tools to share our city's evolving story. I am convicted that as downtown continues to go through historic development we must tell our story better.
Funded by South Bend, IN (May 2017)