We didn't know there'd be more than one.
The purpose of interviewing Featured Locals is to get a glimpse into people's experiences--to explain what empowers them to follow their passions. At El Local Collective, we believe the people behind the work is what determines a business's success. Why else do we know names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk? These people believed in themselves and stayed true to themselves, eventually leading them to their dreams. The more we believe in ourselves, the more we become ourselves. The more we learn about people's dreams, the more inspired we are to follow our own.
It's cliché, but true: Anyone can make a difference, just by being themselves.
This is the belief that led to El Local Collective. This is the message we promote. What started off as selling my friend's artwork, quickly transformed into something larger: supporting people to become who they are destined to be.
Currently featured on the site are old film photographs captured by Rene Guerrero. Although Rene has been actively pursuing other interests, his work inspired me to follow my passions. Wanting to gain some experience, I asked if I could build a website that would sell his photography.
Rene's answer? I believe in you.
When we thought this would just be a store that sold his photography, our About Us was a look into the questions we answered when thinking "About Us." At that time, we didn't know that the way of explaining who we were through Q&A would birth the idea of interviewing Featured Locals, totally changing the purpose of the website. We just wanted a simple way to show people who we were without being flashy or pretentious.
This was the original About Us, the true first interview...
How did you meet?
RENE: We both started working at the bowling alley in Corpus before it's grand opening.
SAM: Since then, I moved to Dallas.
RENE: I switched jobs and got my degree.
How would you describe Corpus Christi?
RENE, confidently: Biggest small town you can live in.
SAM: Out of everywhere I've lived in Texas, Corpus has the most sincere, encouraging community.
When did you start film photography?
How did you start film photography?
RENE: My friends were getting into film at the time so it was really appealing. One of them let me borrow a camera he wasn't really using and I ended up keeping it until it broke. Then he handed me down another camera. It's funny- I've actually never officially bought my own.
If you had to put your pictures into 3 themes, what would you you say they are?
RENE: With the black and white ones, I would say gothic. I wanted to mimic the tones of horror movies from the 40s. Also, what's the word? I wanna say blue-collar American with all the construction sites, warehouses, and work yards. Retro is too broad, I would say urban.
What do you not like taking shots of? What kind of photos do you hate to see?
RENE, immediately: Hate seeing portraits because I see it all the time.
I like ambiguous pics where you can guess what might happen. Not a picture of some girl you'd usually see at some place you'd expect her to go to. Portraits have one set emotion- the emotion of the person. I want people to have to wonder or build a scenario in their head about what the picture means as opposed to just seeing a pic of some person or something.
The only portraits I like are ones of my friends.
What details do you think make the best photographs?
RENE: Taking whatever you want from the photo. Not wondering the artists intent because it’s left up to the viewer.
Is there anything you want to shoot that you haven’t?
RENE: Trains. Trains and more country roads or highways or ditches. Stuff like that. Run-down Corpus. Parts that are abandoned but still in the community. Like in the heart of Corpus. There are small businesses in the same block as worn down buildings. I also want to find the dangerous parts of town.
What have you made that you're most proud of?
RENE: My most recent film, My Friend Marcus. The drawings and characters I've been coming up with for animations and this script I made at Del Mar called Red Ghosts.
Do you have any projects going on?
RENE: I'm editing a documentary, working on a film, and recently I've been drawing cartoons because I'm looking into animation.
Ideally, what do you want to accomplish?
RENE: I just want to do what I want without being limited by anything.
Just pictures of what I want without caring about being better. It’s not my main goal to become a great photographer, I just want to take photos of what I want. If that makes sense.
SAM: It makes sense. I want more people to do what they want because they like doing it. Really embrace themselves. I think that's why I'm so invested in these photos.
I want everyone to be real, the way the pictures are.