Margaret Shanoss Jim Thomas Brenda Schaffer Robert Nicholas Josh Alfred Anthony Payne Dan Charlie Elizabeth Norton Herb Tom Jordan Basil

Reflections of Hope

2015 Project is underway!

Camera Project
The place we live. The community we belong to.
Reflections of Hope: Images from Our Community

The Reflections of Hope Camera Project is a community arts project based around a photography contest. This project is coordinated by Positive Living North’s (PLN) drop-in program. PLN is a community-based organization that focuses on wellness and strength in the lower income population in the Bulkley Valley. Our daily drop-in program is open to the community.

In the five years, two-hundred and fifteen disposable cameras were handed out to PLN Drop-in patrons living in the Bulkley Valley. Artists were asked the questions “What does it mean to belong to community? How do you see Smithers?” Artists were given three weeks to take photos but many took longer. One-hundred and thirty cameras were returned and approximately 2250 photos were developed.

Three local artists chose the best forty photos. For the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Camera Projects Virginia Pohl did this task, for 2010 Facundo Gastiazoro and for 2013 and 2014 Meghan Brady. For the 2015 year, Sonja Coates from the Main Street Studio helped choose the best photos. For the past six years, the top forty from each year were arranged on a board and brought to the Farmers Market and to Mountain Eagle Books for the community to vote for the best photos. The participants make all decisions pertaining to the Reflections of Hope Calendar Project. In the 2015 year, this was done slightly different. Over 250 photos were displayed in the Main Street Studio, and community members were invited to vote for the best photos there. This year was an overwhelming success, with over 160 votes cast. It was a wonderful weekend exhibiting at the Main Street Studio, and we would like to thank Sonja Coates for her help and feedback in making this project even better. We are also excited to announce that the 2016 Reflections of Hope Calendar will be in colour this year.

Thanks to a grant form the Wetzin'kwa Community Forest Corporation we were able to gather personal life-stores from some of the camera project participants. Excerpts of their stories are shared throughout the 2014 calendar. The full narratives will be compiled and presented in a later publication. Some of the audio recordings were used in Valerie Laub's play about homelessness "No Fixed Address".

Our Reflections of Hope camera project became the inspiration for a community-wide photography project, Life Exposure: Images of Community, Sponsored by the Bulkley Valley Community Arts. Council. Life Exposure is an arts engagement project aimed at bridging diverse communities across the Bulkley Valley. You can view the photos at This past year we received the funds from the sale of art work from the Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council’s Life Exposure: Images of Community project. Check out the amazing video about the project:

We received a generous donation of a website for the project from Phil Brienesse.

The purpose of the project is to foster inclusion and create space for discussions on what it means to belong but first and foremost it is to provide an opportunity for individuals to express themselves artistically.

We would like to thank our amazing community for continuing to support this project.