With the beginning of a new year comes countless goals, resolutions and commitments. For Sesar Sanchez, 2016 will be a year full of photography. The 35-year-old Chico State graduate has committed to photographing and highlighting one Chico local every day of 2016.
Tell me a little bit about your project.
The project is built around the idea of being socially aware and connecting with other people any way you possibly can. I’m willing to go out of my way to go find people, and I get to take pictures of them, and they get to have nice pictures of themselves and we talk a little about their life, and I get to tell them about mine.
How do you choose your subjects?
It doesn’t matter where, I’ve gone to a coffee shop and met someone, and we went outside to go shoot. The project is open to anyone, it’s not just about my friends. I’ve had people who have found me through Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr and contact me. Then there are also people who I have contacted. I’m already booked up through March 3, I have someone set up for every day.
Is there any certain subject in Chico you are seeking out?
The only subject that I really want is you, and that is an overall saying. If you want to be a part of it, just do it. Help me do it and I will help you. One of the craziest experiences so far was when I met Emily, a subject, on the second day of the project, who I had never met before. We met up at a coffee shop, talked for an hour, went out and during the photo shoot we talked for another hour. It was someone I had never met before, and we still talk and check up with each other. I don’t need someone well-known to be a part of my photos, I just want someone who wants to be a part of something.
What made you want to start this project?
I had started taking photos about a year and a half ago, and had no idea what I was doing. I felt then like I wanted to take on a very ambitious, selfless project. It is selfless and kind of selfish at the same time, because I get something out of it. I get to interact with people I’ve never met before, I get to go take pictures of people every day, I get to get better at my craft. And they get to have nice pictures of themselves.There was something that I can’t even really explain that made me say, “every day I want to take pictures of someone,” and there’s really not that much more to it.
How long have you been in the Chico area?
I’ve been in Chico for 13 and a half years. I came from Salinas, California. I am connected with the local Chico music scene. I’ve integrated myself enough into being a local, yet from Salinas.
Has it been hard to get the photos done everyday?
The first thing I do when I wake up is make sure that the person I’m meeting with today is ready to go. I also contact all the people that I am going to meet up with during the rest of the week, and I make sure they are ready. My schedule is very limited, so making my rounds and making sure people are ready before the week helps. I’m very organized, but also really lazy, so I try to make things as easy as possible for me. It’s been very challenging, but anything that’s really challenging is going to be worth it. It’s not all supposed to be easy.
The 365Chico project can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Follow the pages for more information and to stay up-to-date with the photo of the day.
Sarah Strausser can be reached at [email protected] or @strausser_sarah on Twitter.