turning strangers into family
Being connected to ones community for me is allowing myself to feel a part of a place and a collective group of people who are more like family than strangers.
Serving them is how I show my love and appreciation for all they do for me every single day for being there. I would simply state it that, it is up to those who show up and give that in the end get to decide how we all grow together. I love being able to bring my gratitude that I have for belonging my community and put actions to work instead of just words spoken.
My talent is showcased via my camera and so, I try to give back to my community with my camera in hand. I might have an unending financial means to give to back to my community but if I can give of my time and talent I hope to bridge gaps in our society. One of my semi-recent community outreaches I decide to venture on was the Little Women Project. Iʼm currently only in year one of the project but Iʼm hopeful for the impact, although small, will have the next generation of ladies.
Having a teenager has got me rethinking everything. I remember what I felt like, how I walked around the halls in school and was so insecure. I was mostly uncertain with who I was, what others thought of me. So, having a teenage daughter myself and being a photographer, I decided with permission to get a specific group of girls together a week or so before their school year begins and photograph them for the next four years of high school. This year will be our first year.
My goal is inspire within. Meaning, I hope to show teenagers how to look within themselves for validation instead of outward. Now, I know that is may not be a realistic goal but I feel as though I have to try. Iʼm choosing to photograph them, via being an active participant both in a few portraits and also more candid or girl lead.
Some background info: Iʼve always been inspired by one of the most influential sociologist, Charles Cooley and The Looking Glass Theory that I studied back in my university days. I want to see if we can challenge how we see ourselves while we are still forming out ideals of who we are, a teenager. In the looking glass theory, we determine our self-perception based on what others think or feel who we are. I know that this is something we will always do but I strongly feel we can also influence ourselves by shutting out the external noise and look inside for who we are.
View Latest Project:
The most recent local project I have just started is the S.T.A.N.D ASA portrait project. The overall mission is to give a voice to those who have been sexually assaulted and help repair the mental scaring that has transpired. Being one of those victims I have started with myself, it is extremely hard but I am hopeful that by sharing my experience with other victims and supporters it will manifest in a positive healing for our community and perception that we are no longer damaged but stronger together. More info to come as this is undergoing.
The HIV Community link hosts an annual gala called the Splash of Red Event every year here in Calgary, AB. A few years back they inquired with me to donate my time and talent to their red carpet photography coverage. It has been an honour supporting such a beautiful group of folks who genuinely want to do good for our community.
The Willow Park Annual Charity Event is by far one of the most amazing, and fun charities I have had the privilege to serve over the past several years. With every year that passes and I am again chosen to support them, I get excited and eager to do just that. Their event and team always chooses a local charity to raise funds to and the local support is always huge and makes me proud to help them do whatever they need.
Pride Parade, Shell. A few years ago, I was asked to walk and photograph Shellʼs support in the Calgary Pride Celebration and Parade. I still hold this moment dear to me. The love and connection to our city and standing with all LGBQT community made my heart warm. That being said, I did also bring my daughter with me because I truly feel that we need to lead by example. I wanted my daughter to see that wasnʼt just a gig for me but how we love our neighbours, our city and our people. She still thinks fondly of this moment in her youth and rallies around her own LGBQT friends in school. It just beautiful.