UEP and telling stories makes a difference

It is said that a picture says a thousand words.

What happens though when to each picture the ‘taker’ gives you the story behind the picture. Their story of heart, of life, of soul?

Last night at the BeCause Urban Exposure Project (UEP), I found out.

Last night  was the UEP exhibit where I felt and saw and sensed what each photographer felt and saw and sensed in the moment of capturing their response to the theme of this year’s UEP — What is family? In their expressions of family, I experienced their vision of the beauty, wonder and awe all around them. Beyond the connection each photographer had to the subject matter of their photo, I sensed the spirit of the eye behind the shutter, the hands holding the camera, and the heart telling the story.

And in that experience, I was made different.

I first wrote about UEP here when I gave a presentation on story-telling to the group in May. Being able to experience the body of work created by this group of 17 photographers ranging in age from 20 to 40 was a gift. A moment in time to be cherished, savoured, and shared — which is what makes it seem so sad that the exhibit only happens one night of the year. While a couple of hundred people witnessed what I experienced last night, more people need to see it too. More people need to know — there is hope in our world, possibility, compassion, caring. The future is safe in the hands and eyes and hearts of this generation.

I love days like yesterday. Filled with possibility. Hope. Compassion. Wisdom. Sharing. Days like yesterday leave me open and eager to do more to make a difference. It began with a breakfast meeting at 7 where I listened to Dr. Michael Yapko share his insight and wisdom on depression. Author of Depression is Contagious, Dr. Yapko’s pragmatic and humanistic approach was a refreshing, hopeful take on what appears to be a very depressing situation — 1 in 5 people suffer from depression in their lifetime. $7.9 billion cost to business in Canada every year. Predicted to be the second most prevalent disorder in the world by 2020 (currently #4 behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents).

The theme of Dr. Yapko’s work parallels the theme of UEP — when asked ‘why does it seem like depression is growing in our world and in particular, business?’ his reply centered on family. For many people, he said, work has replaced the traditional family. When you add social and technological change occurring far more quickly than biological evolution, you have the perfect storm for people unable, ill-equipped, unskilled in coping with such massive change. Despair, fear, hopelessness rise and incidences of depression increase.

There is hope. And it all begins with awareness.

In the photos and stories of the photographers last night, I saw that hope shining through the awareness these photographers brought to the subject of family. Through the eyes and hearts of the participants, I felt the possibility of a kinder, more caring, more just society. I was moved, just as their perceptions shifted when they visited agencies throughout the city and area and experienced the work they do and learned more about the people they serve.

It is all about family. And we are one big human family. Connected. Diverse. Complex.

We are all one family of human beings doing the best we can to get by, get on with, get through, get into our lives — sometimes messy, sometimes sad and tragic and complicated and always, always real.

From the beauty of a photo of the Peace Bridge seen through two clasped hands to the very real and courageous story of an infant baby fighting for her life to the smiles on a young couple’s face who received the gift of generosity and time from one of the photographers, UEP gives meaning, depth and perspective to our human condition.

Kudos to those who helped organized, mount, stage and produce last nights event. From the amazing food prepared by FRESH, the studio space where the exhibit was held to the greeters and coordinators (Liseanne you are amazing! and I am so very proud of you), UEP inspired compassion and ignited passion. It opened minds, touched hearts and lifted spirits up to see — anything is possible when we open ourselves up to receive and experience the beauty of our human condition. UEP reminded everyone that love and beauty and wonder is all around and when we share our stories — life happens.

UEP is making a difference. Thank you Sean Culbert, Shawn Elisha Hausauer,Katie Murray, Stefanie Gescher, Carla Bitz, Danelle Wettstein, Keisha Russell, Allyson Simpson, Dennis deJesus, Carolyn Torhjelm, James Koslowski, Samantha Peck, Tessa Steadman, Jessica Mable Bonaparte, Sarah Baker, Edward Chow, Mackenzie Chu, Megan Marshall, Jason Saldanha, Ross Tabalada.

You inspire me.

7 thoughts on “UEP and telling stories makes a difference”

  1. Pingback: Calgary Is Awesome

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