Last year on the 25th of August, it was my first anniversary of living in Canada and I can remember vividly all the emotions that I had when I first arrived. Moving out on my own for the first time to a foreign country where I didn’t know a soul was a challenge to say the least and it is fair to say that I have enjoyed every minute of my stay.

I remember that as a photographer who had been in Toronto for less than a month I felt an amazing rush and I was trying to seize this incredible opportunity to capture everything that came across my lens. One day, I remember that one of my teachers at the time mentioned this ‘interesting’ area of downtown. After his description I was very much intrigued, so I partnered up with my loyal friend Google and searched the place. The pictures that came up in the search were amazing. I found out that they even had a small Venezuelan restaurant there where you could eat arepas. From that moment, the deal was sealed that weekend I needed to visit this place.

So if my memory doesn’t fail me, it was a Saturday when I went with one of my good friends, Lonneke, and what I saw captivated me in more ways than just the food. If you are Latin, just as a side note, this is paradise for us because you can find almost all the food essentials that I’m sure you are missing from home.

That’s when this project appeared for the first time in my head. I just wanted to capture the magic of Kensington Market, a place that, within one visit had become my favourite area of Toronto. But the magic of this place for me wasn’t on the architecture or street art. The magic was on the people who were there. I wanted to stop people and capture the magic that I saw in this place.

Just to clarify, this was before I discovered the blog Humans of New York, which I follow and love (if you haven’t seen it go and check it out!). I have much respect and admiration for Brandon Stanton and his work and this project is not by any means, myself trying to emulate it.

But to continue, after a few months and several outings with my camera I still was unable to go up to people and ask to take their picture, just because I was afraid. As the months passed by, I made friends with local store-owners and every time I talked about the idea they repeated the same thing like a great Nike ad: “Just do it”.

It was not until last October that I was presented with a project in my Visual Communications class and with a little push from one of my friends, that I finally gathered enough courage to go out and finally take the pictures. The task was to create 20 photographs of a place or something that you love. In total, I published 22 on my Instagram account. Here is the result of that project.

 

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Big thanks to everyone who participated in this project and to the magic people who agreed to have their pictures taken. Cheers everyone! :)