Welcome to my Portraits in HAAA Project.
It all started in the Lonely Lockdown month of January 2021. I was seeking a theme for my 100 day project, where in I commit to making one thing a day for 100 days, and sharing the work on my instagram account to create some accountability. For the project to be feasible, it would need to be something close to home. For the sake of my own mental health, I needed it to be outside of the four walls of my home (read: three kids + husband with home "office"+ online learning = no personal time - a bit further along the pandemic than the first great shut down).
About the same time the City of Hamilton announces a renewal project for our local park. Seeing as I spend time there daily, I really want this renewal to no suck. These things all bubbling around in my mind, I decided to explore HAAA park and the people who use it.
The 100 days:
So with trepidation I entered the park with my kids and my camera. I awkwardly ask for a picture of a family at the ice rink, I have vague answers to their questions about "Why do you want our picture?" At that point I had no idea, what was so come of this project, or if I would even make it past ten days.
I asked for pictures from all different kinds of park users. Sometimes friends, sometime strangers, sometimes park regulars who I'd known well but, never before spoken to. The more I asked, the more amazed I was at all the Yeses.
"Can I take your picture? SURE!"
Early on, I knew that I wanted to find a way to give back to all the generosity that I found along my 100 day path.
Bringing it home:
So with the support of the City of Hamilton's Placemaking Grant Pilot Program (they have another application opportunity in the fall 2021, if you have any great ideas for your community definitely apply!) I decided upon an outdoor installation of your portraits, at the very place we took them.
For this summer 30 of the portraits from the collection will be on display at HAAA park. I hope that you have the opportunity to see the display in person, and the entire collection below.
My hope is that the smiling faces make you feel as welcome as I felt when I clicked the shutter. That you too might feel connected to the amazing community in and surrounding the park. During the early years with little children, and the long days of COVID isolation, this park has become a place for me to connect with others, and a place to clear my mind. I am truly grateful to be a member of this community, and I hope that you feel welcome to stretch out on the grass, walk your dog, and make friends with a stranger.