For the seventh year the Hope in Shadows calendar campaign is supporting residents of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Rising above it all in what is seen as Canada’s most downtrodden neighbourhood, residents sign up to become licensed sellers of the calendars once a year which feature local photography of their community.
In the summer of 2009 a photography contest was held for residents of the Downtown Eastside. Run by the Pivot Legal Society, Hope in Shadows distributed disposable cameras to 200 residents so they could snap images of the community from their perspective and not be depicted only as addicts or victims. The winning photos have been printed in the calendar that is being sold by residents out on the streets of Vancouver this winter.
The calendars are $20 and $10 of that goes directly to the licensed seller. The rest of the proceeds go towards operating costs and Hope in Shadows programs.
I bought mine from Catherine this afternoon outside of Waterfront SkyTrain station. She told me that she suffers from depression and severe anxiety and that getting out to sell the calendars is a highlight for her. This is her second year selling Hope in Shadows and she said it’s helped her immensely to get out into the community like this and has grown as an individual.
Big support this year once again came from Vancity who has made several of its branches depots for the calendars so that sellers don’t have to lug them around all day. They have also been a core sponsor since the beginning of this project seven years ago.
For 2010, 16,000 calendars have been printed (which is up from 13,000 sold out last year and 9,000 which sold out the year before that). The calendars have some of the most compelling and authentic images of our city and to top it off they are all 100% carbon neutral.
You can view the winning photos themselves over at the Vancouver Public Library’s main branch in the Moat Gallery throughout the month of December. There will also be a book reading tomorrow night (Thursday, December 10th, 2009) of the award-winning Hope in Shadows book. This is a part of the Robson Reading series and will take place at the UBC Bookstore in Robson Square (800 Robson Street) at 7:00pm.
Spot a DTES resident around town this winter, purchase a Hope in Shadows calendar from them for $20, and help make a difference in someone’s life.
You can also find Hope in Shadows on Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter if you would like more information.