MRU photojournalists capture Faces of Calgary

LT E Parm-SuriParm Suri has lived in Calgary for nine years. He says he believes the city is in need of more schools.

Photo by Masha Scheele A Calgary photojournalism project is challenging photographers to push themselves out of their comfort zones. Photographers strive to get to know Calgary residents and share their stories via photo and text with the hopes of bridging gaps between Calgary as a community.

The creator of the Faces of Calgary project, photographer Paul Coates, says he hopes the results will portray a more unique side of Calgarians.

The project came together after Coates, a journalism instructor, watched Calgarians come to the aid of their neighbours during the June floods. He says he was deeply inspired by these selfless acts. The experience got him thinking more about a photo project called Humans of New York.

“[The man who runs the blog] was living in New York and one of the things he was interested in was photography,” Coates says. “He would quite literally walk the streets during the day in different neighbourhoods and take pictures of people he came across and find a little bit about who they were and started doing this blog.”

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And so, Coates developed the Faces of Calgary project – a photojournalism assignment in MRU’s journalism degree program.

“Wouldn’t it be a great idea that we learn more about the people that are in Calgary?” Coates says. “And somehow talk to the people on the street and really make it like a small town again, in that everyone knows one another and respects one another.”

Amanda Taylor is a contributor to Faces of Calgary, #YYCFaces on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, and says that it was a great experience.

LT kevin-baker-fotographixORIGINALKevin Baker is a business owner and entrepreneur who says adding more dedicated bike paths doesn’t make much sense due to the large number of cars on the road.

Photo by Jesse Yardley “It really pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but it was nice to get to know different people in the city,” she says.

Jesse Yardley is also a Faces of Calgary contributor and student and says he was surprised to see such a huge range of diversity within the project.

“There is everyone from homeless people to really rich people,” Yardley says. “It wasn’t just a bunch of your ‘everyday average Joes.’”

LT Lindsay1ORIGINALLindsay Sorell is a 23-year-old artist who pedals downtown Calgary streets while commuting to work.

Photo by Amanda TaylorCoates hopes that each person who sees the project will take away something from it.
“You break down barriers with knowledge,” Coates says. “I think that this is the one thing that will get the knowledge out there about who we are and what we think about our city.”

Coates hopes this project will continue to grow and would like to see more people, not just students, go out and talk to different people in Calgary.

He hopes that with the Pinterest platform, it will inspire the audience to post their own Faces of Calgary photos and write-ups.

Do you have a Faces of Calgary photo story to tell? Please send us your links via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, using the hashtag #YYCFaces, or email them to

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