We tend to overlook the struggles of the poor, brushing them off as someone else's problem, but the harsh reality is that poverty isn't just an issue for "those people". It's a problem that affects us all. I aim to bring attention to the ways in which this land is controlled and taken away, and how this impacts the lives of those who depend on it. My aim is to create art that is both visually striking and politically meaningful, inviting viewers to consider the ways in which this land is connected to poverty. By shedding light on the struggles of marginalized communities and challenging the systems of oppression that perpetuate poverty on this land, my work offers a visual language that is powerful and empathetic, evocative and provocative.
I'm all about capturing the beauty and diversity of the natural world, but at the same time, I want to bring attention to its challenges. My picture showcases the subtle allure of nature, paired with a threat they face from human intervention. My goal with this photo is to emphasize how the beauty of nature may not always be impressive and grand, but also small and easily accessible, and just how easily the peacefulness can be destroyed. I want people to see my work and appreciate the environment, while simultaneously being brought a feeling of protectiveness. After viewing my image, whether the takeaway is simply a feeling of tranquility or being sparked towards making a difference in the world, I hope that my work will have evoked fresh views of our planet.
Mother Earth Can't Breathe
My work captures my perspective of our dying earth. Throughout my life, I have been well aware of climate change as a global issue. It is important to me that I raise awareness to issues that need to be discussed, such as the dream of reversing the damage that has been done to our world. As a teen in today’s society, I hope to see change in not only our communities and systems but as individuals too. In this piece, I focus on the visual representation of Mother Earth and the suffering that she undergoes. She is wearing a fragmented sweater with pieces of plastic clinging to its holes, symbolizing the amount of trash that we use and leave behind thoughtlessly. My piece conveys the suffocation that our land and nature experience as a result of our actions. I hope to continue using art as a way to ignite conversations about global issues that continue to negatively impact our world.
The unimpressive street corner with freedom art
I took a photo of a street in the most inconspicuous corner of the city center. Although this street was suddenly discovered by me during my walk, I was very satisfied with this photo when I finally selected it. I have been living in a big city since I was young; and like many people, I am used to the bustling street scenery and skyscrapers. But, I often ignore the small but special art in life. This street in the photo is messy, but it is also a part of the city. For me, this street can also symbolize the dark side of the city, representing the freedom of art through the perspective of people's hard life.
At the beginning of the project I had recently acquired a drone with a camera. I thought, “how could I apply this new toy to my work?” I thought about ‘This Land’ and became interested in how it changes over time. I looked through photo archives of the Lower Mainland. In the last few decades alone, it’s changed significantly. This was an avenue that I was invested in exploring, so I found an aerial photo of my neighbourhood, UBC from the ‘60s. Through editing, I superimposed the past and the present together.
I remember in 2016, when I was about nine or ten years old, my dad took me to an auto show in Vancouver. I saw countless cars, including luxury cars, sports cars, supercars, hypercars and historic cars. I even got to sit inside some of those vehicles. Since then, my love for cars that inhabit this land has only grown day after day. My father is also a car enthusiast. We would participate in multiple car meets and my father would teach me some of the parts when I was young. The times I have spent closely observing (my father’s love of cars? or is it observing many different types of cars?) and the precious time with someone I look up to the most, my father, truly inspired me to capture the four incredible cars in a line after a show.
Polar Bear Exhibit
In June 1962 the Hudson’s Bay company donated polar bears to the Vancouver zoo. The bears were kept in this small, unnatural enclosure purely for our entertainment. This sparked an outrage among activists who thought that the ill treatment of these animals was appalling. Subsequently, Vancouverites voted via referendum in 1994 to phase out the remaining attractions at the Vancouver zoo. Once this decision was made the polar bears were left in the cage until they died. The enclosure remains empty to this day. A reminder of how we take advantage of the innocence and beauty this land provides for our own benefit
I am an international student from Guangdong, China who has studied in Vancouver for nearly four years. My first impression of Vancouver was one of inclusiveness and diversity; however, after studying past xenophobic policies and visiting immigration museums, I realized that today’s tolerance is based on hundreds of years of injustice and conflict. Even today, prejudice still exists in groups of people. Eliminating prejudice; I believe, requires inclusiveness and equality to become people’s consensus. This requires all kinds of publicity, including photography. As I passed the door of a store in Chinatown, I intuitively took this photograph. The decoration of the store takes me back to the old stores in Hong Kong. The elements in the store do not originate in Vancouver; but like me, they integrate perfectly with this land from another land far away.
Peak of Life
Embrace this land, embrace yourself. After spending years on this journey of finding who I am, I finally adapted myself on this land. I shot this picture at a common, little store in Chinatown Vancouver. I’m inspired by the self-identity struggles that new immigrants are confronting. I hope this image, which depicts an elderly immigrant and the job he developed in this strange country, will inspire courage in those who try to be what people and society expect them to be. It doesn't matter how people see you; being authentically yourself reveals your true self.
Looking out at our beautiful Tahltan territory. Thinking about my ancestors and how much this land meant to them. The trees, the mountains, breathe upon their surroundings. The wolf and crow are our clans. I am a Tahltan crow. Our land is unceded. The Canadian government put their flag over top of our land. This land is not theirs but ours forevermore. Gracious for my ancestors for protecting and preserving our land for us today. Now it is my turn to do the same.
In my work, I explored what is changing and what is everlasting. This land has nourished people for generations. This land witnesses human history. I want viewers to consider the relationship between human beings and nature and think about how to live peacefully with nature.
Footprints of Change
There’s a quote that says all the best ideas are conceived while walking; so when I couldn’t think of an idea for this project, I told my teacher I was going for a walk. And so I did. I walked into the brisk cold, the snow crunching underneath my shoes, leaving imprints in the shape of my soles. I let my mind wander, and it was like lightning- I had my idea. We all leave behind footprints, each one unique and powerful. The world is an ever-changing place, constantly shifting and always different from how we left it. Being conscious that our actions represent so much more than just ourselves is crucial to our lives. We are connected to each other, to the land’s history, its meaning, and the flora and fauna through each step we take on this Earth. We must continue preserving this connection throughout our lives because our futures are being written with every step we take. We can each choose how to exist on this planet- so let’s protect it.
I like the sense of randomness you find on the streets. To me, photography is one of the best ways to capture unique moments, so I just decided on a location and took my camera to capture people on the street. I rarely do street photography because I am shy, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.
I chose historic Chinatown because I lived in Shenzhen, China for many years. Shenzhen is a bustling city and Chinatown still retains what life looked like in China in the 1980s. I think the whole of Chinatown is like a big museum. Although Shenzhen is different from Chinatown, the strong Chinese elements in Chinatown make me feel a sense of belonging on this land. The bright red color light pole is very attractive to my eyes and red is the color that represents Chinatown. I took this photo when a woman, also in red, was about to cross the road, thinking about although vastly different, the land of my childhood and the land where I live now also have a lot in common and feel like home.
Development of Canada
As I was brainstorming ideas for this project, I noticed something that was quite unique about Canada, which is its youngness compared to other countries. In order to this capture this idea, I decided to take pictures of the oldest and newest buildings in Vancouver. However; I did not simply just choose them, I wanted the buildings to be artistically appealing. Through hours of research, I chose five buildings and took photos of them from all sorts of angles. Then, I chose the best two pictures out of more than 70 pictures. The motivation to do all this work was based on my interest in the development of Canada. I was always intrigued to learn about how Canada evolved so fast and became one of the most influential countries in the world. This led to exploring this development through the contrast of two images. I believe this can remind people that we shouldn’t stop this pace and continue to develop this country.
This work is a self reflection. I was a person who was afraid of challenging new things. I could not live in a comfortable mind, always oppressing myself within the set rules. I didn't care about what was going on around me, I closed myself up and pretended to hang out with others. In the meantime, I have suffered from a growing sense of dullness, emptiness, inferiority, and shame against that inferiority complex. I'm too young and immature.
I’m like a scribble who can't be completed, who can't be a piece of work, who can't be sincere, who can't be a piece of work.
It will soon be a year since I came to Canada. I felt a lot of things and changed in this new space for about a year. I tried new things and faced my life and future head on, contemplating, thinking, and trying. But I still feel awkward and a little bit scared about the way forward and my future. So I took a picture of myself as a scribble who was stopped on this high and dry road.
With the hope that the end is bright.
This photograph really captures the three most beautiful elements that stand out in life; the water, the land and the sky. This idea came to me when I started to realize and appreciate the environment and things around me. This image showcases one of the billion possible landscapes that capture the true natural beauty of Canada. We need to not only start noticing the environment around us and acknowledging its existence, but remember deep inside it holds very important meaning and history. This photograph also represents the Indigenous land that has been stolen to create our country, a reminder of not only the beauty of our land but the responsibility we all hold to do our part in reconciliation on this land.
"This photograph, taken at the Vancouver fish market, is a reminder of the deep-seated connection between nature and culture. The fishing family represents a culture deeply rooted in the sea and its bounties. A traditional livelihood representing the deep bond we share with this land - the land that sustains us and that we; in turn, have an obligation to sustain. However, behind the beauty of their livelihood lies the harsh reality of our impact on the environment. The sacrifice of countless lives for our consumption serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of our actions. Unless we take responsibility for our actions, this cycle of destruction will continue to ravage the world and the cultures that call it home."
Tapwewin Koostachin Chakasim
Must We Control?
Photography in my eyes is a means to control how others opinionate certain aspects to life. Speaking from a beginner’s standpoint and skillset in capturing meaningful photos, I would say it is the best way to spread perception. Although I cannot proclaim myself as a photographer, I believe the work that I’ve done has very accurately demonstrated the essence of how I see things and arrange things from subject to non-subject. What I find important are people and their placement within “this land”. In many cases the human race is portrayed as the fault to much of nature’s destruction. It is true, we cause loss and develop greedy ways of thinking; but, I find the most under looked aspect in belonging is how people fail to see what’s stopping them. We think we are different to one another; but in reality we follow the same rules, customs, and in general our very own sentiments. As a person capturing these images I wish to convey meaning and manifest emotions of self-reflection and individuality.
The Circle of Life
When first arriving in a new land, I believe that every immigrant has their own way of constantly trying to adapt and understand a new culture. My remedy was to play golf. The animals on the course were what drew me in the most. I got to see some animals and their interactions that I had never seen before. I was astonished and intrigued by the animal hunting process, among other things. In my work, I have investigated the relationship between predator and prey in order to depict Canada’s most primal side. As a photographer, I strive to create honest and genuine images that capture the essence of my subjects and tell their stories in a powerful and captivating way.
Must We Control?
The land where we breathe, stand upon and live has its own history. Albeit, many people tend to disregard it. My work paves a way for that history to remain relevant until this day, because the moodiness and ambience of my work reflect that.
Value is what I always strive for, and I think that not many people have thought about it recently. Photographers such as LaToya Ruby Frazier and Morris Lum focus on the aesthetics of a picture and how the land came to be from what humans have done to it. That itself emphasizes that they put attention to the values of their work.
I want my work to express the value of the land that we stand upon, and its timeless history that we should all embrace so that it will continue to live on.