The Vault Cultural Collective will be launching the Alberta Portrait Project on September 30, and it will run until October 28. While you'll have all month to check out the beautiful portraits, make sure you go tomorrow because Ramsey Kunkel, the photographer behind the photos, will be there from 10:00-4:00 to discuss his work!
Kunkel is an Indigenous photographer born and raised in Strathmore, who currently lives in Strathmore. His Alberta Portrait Project began 5 years ago, and to him, it's all about showcasing the everyday people in our province and telling their stories.
"It's developed into a show that celebrates the people in our backyard, instead of having to look everywhere. There's just so much talent and amazing people that help build and develop this place that we know, and the cultural way we are living right now collectively. It's been a project that's gone that direction, but it started with that whole thing in mind with looking at the people that are around us. They're neighbours, they're friends, they're people that everybody knows, and if not can relate to, or has a story to tell about," he said.
He started photography simply for the love of it, and as he continued to work on his craft he started to really appreciate the connection that comes from taking someone's portrait.
"When I first started photographing kids, you see something more real in what you're photographing, and that taught me about how to capture emotion and being sensitive to the people you're photographing, so you can share that realness. Connecting with the people has probably been the most amazing part of it all, the stories, the shared connections, and the experience."
This connection is something that he hopes to convey to his audience. So far, he's been happy to see that people have been able to connect to his work in the way that he does.
"When people have come down to see the show, they've been able to connect with something, someone, or something about the portraits that are shown, because it's such a focused group of people, and knowing how small this world is, it's easy to find something that you can take home with you and feel good about."
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