We had the good fortune of connecting with EDGAR SANTANA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi EDGAR, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am a 42 year old, Bronx born and bred Nuyorican. I currently reside in the northern most neighborhood in the Boogie Down, with my beautiful pregnant wife, toddler and our mini schnauzer. The Bronx hasn’t always received the respect it deserves. The borough has impacted my life in many ways. Being from here has made me resilient. It has made me strong and street smart. It’s made me love and respect. The Bronx has taught me that loving is okay and respect is what everyone craves.
Coming from a middle-class working family, my parents made sure to provide for my sister and I. They gave us what they didn’t have. That upbringing and my environment, has made me the man I am today. The same upbringing I will provide for my two sons, so they will be able to love, enjoy and thrive in their surroundings, just like I did.
The Bronx is rich in culture and the home of Hip- Hop. We are a beautifully diverse people that are proud to be where we are from. When you are from here, you get respect and love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been photographing the Bronx for the past 15 years. The Bronx is known as the last true borough, so I want to make sure I document the ever changing landscape. From murals, people, street corners and vintage cars, the borough is very photogenic.
I’ve been fortunate to be apart of incredible campaigns because of my work, however, it hasn’t been easy. I am self taught and there were many times I wanted to give up. I had the support from my loved ones, which pushed me to continue the love I have for photography. I learned not to be a follower and be different. I wanted my images to stand out. I created a niche of photographing vintage cars throughout the Boogie Down Bronx. To date, I have shot well over 700 vintage cars on the streets of the BX, earning me the nickname, “the Bronx car guy.”
I have been published in a book. I’ve been featured numerous times through different platforms. I have had my images exhibited in galleries. In 2019, I was apart of an AT&T campaign called “it’s a 718 thing,” which included 3 of my images on billboards through NYC. The summer of 2021, I shot a campaign for NikeNYC celebrating Puerto Rican heritage.
I have been lucky to be recognized not only by major companies, but my peers. That to me, is an accomplishment of it’s own.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Bronx is incredible and extremely underrated. There are several locations I would recommend for those wanting to hang. There’s so much to do. First for breakfast, I’ll go to the Miles Coffee Bar in Throggs Neck for some iced coffee and fresh baked goods. We will then head to City Island and walk around the old fishing village and rows and rows of seafood restaurants. For lunch, Johnny’s, an old school, cafeteria style seafood joint. Great fried shrimp and cheap, cold beers. From there, we head to Orchard Beach and people watch, enjoying the breeze and blasting salsa music. For a quick bite, we head to Parkchester and grab the best tacos in the Bronx, Taqueria Tlaxcalli. We are getting close to the evening, so a quick stop at Gun Hill Brewery to check out the beers brewed in house. We have worked up another appetite, so a stop at Lloyd’s Carrot Cake in Riverdale, the best carrot cake you’ll ever eat. One more stop for a beer at the Bronx Brewery and end the night with some Bronx pizza at Venezia in Pelham Gardens.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be the person I am without my family, so shoutout to them. I absolutely have shoutout my wife, my #1 fan, my day 1. Of course the people of the Bronx, my daily inspiration. Without the Bronx, I wouldn’t have the drive to photograph the place I call home.