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As I walked back along the 8th Avenue mall, I came across a lady using her smartphone to take pictures of the street. I offered to take a picture for her so that she could be in it; she declined, but we started talking, and I noticed her lovely French accent.
This is Elodie. She is from Normandy, France, but currently lives in Montreal. She’s out west visiting her boyfriend who lives in Lethbridge, and is in Calgary for the weekend. We spoke for quite some time, both of us enjoying the sunshine. Initially I was not going to ask her to be part of the project, as I usually like to make my photographic intent known at the beginning of an encounter to keep from muddling motives, but I enjoyed our interaction so much I decided to ask anyway. We continued to talk and walk until we got to a better lighting situation where I posed Elodie in some shade.
One thing is becoming clearer as this project progresses and that is people can be amazingly generous and kind. So much of my interaction with the general public happens at a distance — in a car, behind a screen or simply transactional. It is easy, for me at least, to become jaded and cynical toward the behaviour of people. As this project proceeds, I’ve been blessed to encounter and experience people on a more personal level, and these Strangers have been so giving with their time, it really refreshes my spirit.
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