Union Gospel Mission Presents
Exploring Photo 101 in the Downtown Eastside
Friday, November 21 2014 at 6:30pm
Strathcona Church - 341 Princess Ave, Vancouver
Union Gospel Mission presents a second screening of Reflected Light - a documentary that investigates beauty, photography, and community in our neighbourhood. There is no charge for the screening, details are being determined. Please reserve your ticket here.
Seven years ago, UGM launched a unique program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside called Photo 101. Each year the program invites six community members to join UGM’s photographer Andrew Taran and renowned local photographers Kevin Clark and Leah Gregg on a journey of beauty, learning and discovery. Over the course of six weeks, participants learn the practical skill of photography while discovering a therapeutic outlet to tell their stories through images. For the first time last year, UGM opened the Photo 101 program to referrals from local agencies and received participants from First United Church, Mission Possible and other places. Each participant brings a unique personality and relationship to matters relating to poverty and addiction, as well as a great willingness to move forward and challenge themselves to create beauty through the lens of a camera.
Reflected Light follows this year’s Photo 101 class as individuals from the Downtown Eastside experience the highs and lows of the creative process. While learning basic photography skills such as composition, portraiture, and night photography, participants grew not only in talent, but also in self-confidence as they overcame obstacles in their lives. Reflected Light documents this process, allowing the viewer to experience the Downtown Eastside through a new lens.
FILMMAKER / PHOTOGRAPHER BIOS
As a high school student in Kiev, Ukraine, Andrew’s dream was to be a director. Several years later and on a different continent, Andrew has realized this dream as filmmaker, director and producer of Reflected Light. Andrew is 27 years old and has been Union Gospel Mission’s photographer and videographer for two and a half years. He has instructed and coordinated UGM’s Photo 101 program for three years and has seen firsthand how the program touches the lives of its diverse participants.
Kevin is a renowned photographer from Vancouver, specializing in food and portrait photography. After taking photography as an elective in art school, Kevin instantly fell in love with it. He began his photography career in Vancouver’s movie business, shooting actor headshots in together with his wife Trish. For the past ten years, Kevin has focused on food and lifestyle photography. He especially enjoys telling the story of the people and objects he shoots.
Leah is a creative instigator and visual storyteller. She began working at Union Gospel Mission seven years ago, holding a number of roles in communications, community engagement and photography. As photographer for UGM she facilitated the Photo 101 program together with Kevin Clark, one of the most challenging and amazing experiences of her life. Now a content strategist at Rethink, Leah is passionate about connecting people online and off and believes a great idea can change everything.
Get to know the artists featured in Reflected Light through their own words…
My name is William Alex Watts. My traditional name is Ax guy kwoot gum Gibuu, meaning Wolf Never Lost, Always Involved. I am Nisga’a/Gitxsan from the Nisga’a Village of Gingolx. Thanks to my friends and family for their continuing love and support. I live a sober life and am a model citizen of society, with God’s guidance.
I grew up in Golden, BC. I now have two kids Darrean (age 9) and Tristen (age 7). I was raised with my dad being passed away. I have a wonderful mother who did a great job at being that. I am 35 years old and started a father’s program in the Eastside. I am proud of it. I have problems to overcome so I can progress in life. Photo 101 helps me feel real, or alive, and gives me the ability to finish something.
Since completing Alcohol & Drug recovery five years ago, I have spent most of my time exploring and developing my creative side. I will spend the rest of my life as an artist. It’s all I ever really wanted to be.
I am a proud member of the Carrier Nation. I live in Strathcona and love being a part of this community, giving back and participating. On September 27th, I will celebrate my fifth sobriety birthday. I believe in being compassionate, loving, and kind. Family is so important to me and I love being a part of my daughters’ and granddaughters’ journeys.
I believe that everyone is equal and that we can all make a difference whether or not a disability is shown. For example, many people don’t know that I am partially deaf and a fantastic lip reader. I come from being raised by a single parent and strongly believe that the stars align for a reason. Having to adjust to being a single parent myself, I’ve been educated in so many different ways and levels—a book doesn’t really cover and kids don’t come with an instruction manual! I think that life is what you make of it so enjoy the good times and the bad.
The Marketplace Vendors:
Social enterprises providing employment, opportunity and dignity among Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community. Check them out on the second and third floors of SFU Woodward’s.
East Van Roasters creates organic ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate and coffee—roasted and prepared on site—and provides training and employment to the women residents of the Rainier Hotel.
Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) is a self-employment initiative for women impacted by violence who face significant barriers to traditional employment and who seek safe, income-generating opportunities free from exploitation.
H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society provides foodservice job training and work opportunities to individuals in Vancouver who experience barriers to employment. Check out their table of baked goodies!
Hives for Humanity creates opportunities for people from all backgrounds to connect to nature and each other and to benefit from the therapeutic benefits beekeeping offers.
Hope in Shadows is based around a photo contest and calendar for low-income residents and its sales create seasonal employment for those impacted by poverty.
Just Potters runs a successful pottery studio while employing people who face barriers to work including addiction, physical limitations or mental health challenges.
Megaphone is a magazine sold on the streets by homeless and low-income vendors. Vendors buy the magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2, keeping the profit and earning a sense of pride and dignity.
Mission Possible’s studio space brings together local novice and experienced painters, carvers, potters, and sculptors to explore artistic expression and entrepreneurship as a pathway to lasting change.
The Window Community Art Shop is an art and craft shop that helps artists in the community develop, showcase, and sell their work. Items include candles, jewelry, cards, clothing and prints.