The other day, I went for coffee with one of the high school students from my youth group. Her name is Kiana, and she is the sweetest soul. As we were talking, she told me about her love for photography. If you know me, you know I am not the best with a camera. So when Kiana told me this, it caught my attention. She told me about how she went with her photography class to downtown Vancouver and took a few pictures of people. When she showed me these two pictures, I knew I needed to ask her if she could take some pictures for this blog.
These were exactly the type of pictures that I want to have. Ones that represent people as they are. I told Kiana about my blog and the type of pictures I dreamed of having, and asked her if she would want to partner with me. She thankfully said yes, and we made a plan to go to Whalley the next week.
On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I picked up Kiana from school. We stopped at Mcdonalds to pick up some coffee for our friends in Whalley. When we arrived in Whalley, it was golden hour and the city looked beautiful. I parked my car, looked at Kiana and said “Are you ready?” “Yes!” she responded with a smile.
We walked across the street to find some people hanging outside of NightShift. There were about five or six people there. I offered them coffee and casually talked to them about their day. A young couple was doing drugs and began to put them away while I was talking to them. After giving them coffee and talking to them, I told them about what Kiana and I were doing. A few people let Kiana take pictures of them, but most politely declined. They seemed a bit suspicious of us and what we were doing, which is understandable. Despite that, I feel that we were able to connect with them. Here is a picture of an amazing guy who is doing his best to make a difference for addicts in Canada by working closely with organizations and sharing his personal story.
After we spoke with everyone there, we headed over to Surrey Central to see if we could speak with anyone there. We quickly met a man who claimed the area to be his spot, and said that everyone knew him. He wasn’t lying. In the 20-30 minutes we were there, many people stopped by to talk to him. We handed out the rest of our coffee and spoke with these people. They were kind and warm. A couple people let Kiana take their picture. One guy posed for her against a tree, it was awesome. These people were open to talking to Kiana and I. They were not scary, they were not mean. They had found a community with each other in Surrey Central. I am thankful they let us have a window into that community, even if it was only for half an hour. Here is a picture of the man who posed.
I am so grateful to have partnered with Kiana for my blog! She is an incredible photographer at such a young age. She captures people authentically. More pictures to come throughout my blog! In the meantime, follow her instagram here.