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Social Media Spotlight: Faces of Edmonton

Faces of Edmonton is a new blog showcasing Edmonton's scenery, inhabitants, and stories.
Faces of Edmonton is a new blog showcasing Edmonton’s scenerey, inhabitants, and stories.

Faces of Edmonton

By Linda Hoang

Shayne Woodsmith finds a lot of people (himself included) take advantage of the city they live in.

“They don’t appreciate it for what it is,” Woodsmith says.

The 33-year-old writer and photographer – storyteller – hopes to change that with his new blog Faces of Edmonton.

The blog showcases “Edmonton’s scenery, inhabitants, and stories” – through photos and captions. It is inspired by the popular Humans of New York, but Woodsmith says what sets Faces of Edmonton apart, is his storytelling approach.

Each photo includes a caption, describing the subject from Woodsmith’s perspective – how they appeared before he approached, the conversation they had before he asked if he could take their photo.

There’s a girl wearing bright blue, sharing the memory of her happiest moment, a man who lost $300 at the casino, another who’s been in Edmonton just one month, looking for a job, and one man Woodsmith describes as sitting in the shade, “on the well-used steps of his house, drinking a soda, admiring the beans and peas that are his front yard. It’s 28 °C and sunny.”

“I really like to dialogue,” Woodsmith says.

“I find a lot of these blogs, it’s very journalistic, which is fine. But I wanted to be a character in it. I think it can be more evocative if the scene is set a little bit and if there is a voice behind the photo.”

An entry on Faces of Edmonton (http://facesofedmonton.tumblr.com)
An entry on Faces of Edmonton (http://facesofedmonton.tumblr.com)

Faces of Edmonton only launched in late July, but Woodsmith says he’s already received a lot of positive reaction – mainly from social media.

People have reached out to tell him they appreciate the city even more so when they read his posts and see his photos.

“‘I love Edmonton and I’m so glad you’re doing this to showcase it,'” they say.

To capture the images, Woodsmith uses a Nikon D5100. He deliberately walks to see what he’ll find.

“I just wander,” he says, something he did a lot of during his four months traveling in southeast Asia earlier this year.

“When I got back, I got into my car and I got back into car culture so I missed walking and I missed the slower pace and being able to really take in the surrounding of Edmonton so now I just wander around the street and sometimes I make a couple of loops around the same block because it changes every time I walk around, the people are totally different the next time.”

An entry on Faces of Edmonton (http://facesofedmonton.tumblr.com)
An entry on Faces of Edmonton (http://facesofedmonton.tumblr.com)

It can be a challenge, finding subjects who agree to have their photo taken, but now he’s got a process – assessing the person before he approaches, striking up a conversation first before asking for a photograph.

“Often now, I try to tell people why I want to take the photo. ‘You really look really good with that reflection there’ or ‘I like the way you’re holding your hands do you mind if I take your photo?'”

Humans of New York has garnered worldwide attention, with a following in the millions. It’s also been turned into a bestselling book.

Woodsmith’s not sure where Faces of Edmonton is headed (though a book wouldn’t be new territory for the published author).

Shayne Woodsmith, the face behind Faces of Edmonton.
Shayne Woodsmith, the face behind Faces of Edmonton.

For now, he just wants to see where the blog ends up. He’ll continue his deliberate walks, seeing who he runs into and what they have to share.

“I’m really enjoying it and learning about people and learning about Edmonton and learning about myself in the process,” he says.

“Edmonton has amazing people from all over the world, with great experiences and stories to tell.”

Follow Faces of Edmonton on:


Linda Hoang is an Edmonton blogger who writes about food, travel, lifestyle/events and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda is in love with her city and loves exploring and promoting Edmonton and other places she visits with her husband Mike. Linda is also the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival (and has 2 cats herself, along with 2 dogs).

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  • Guys, I'm celebrating the @edmontonoilers the best way I know how: by eating! 🍽 Over on the blog (link in bio), I've got a list of Where to Eat Duck in Edmonton (since its Duck Hunting Season! 🦆) It's just an early starting list so if you know other #yegfood reataurants serving up duck, please let me know and I'll add! #LetsGoOilers #CrushTheDucks
📸 photo credit: @xix19 (duck wings!)
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Enter to win a $50 gift card to Crash Hotel Lobby Bar by tagging a friend in the comments below! 
Additional entries, more #foodporn and a review of #CrashHotel over on my blog! (link in bio)
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  • The best volunteer gigs are ones that involve eating delicious food... 😍 Congrats to @WoodWorkYEG @chef_porter for winning Judge's Choice at the Mount Royal School @TheCulinaryArtsCookOff fundraiser! The winning dish was this Israeli pesto couscous with duck fat, sage, honey balsamic & cheese. 🙏🏻 Kids Choice (and also my 2nd pick) was a butter bacon chicken fat soaked pasta from @shanemedericchartrand! (Perhaps all things could be soaked in butter bacon chicken fat? 😍🤔 lol) Proceeds from this annual cook off and silent auction go to support the school! A very tasty and important cause I'm lucky to have been a guest judge for. ☺️
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Ever try a #Tupperware Meal Prep Party? You & friends get together and prep ingredients for 5 meals (that feed 2-4 people per meal) and you take home the meals in a bunch of Tupperware! 👌🏻 I went to my first Tupperware Meal Prep Party last week with consultant @mbootsie17 and have a recap up on my blog (link in bio)! ☺️ I'm also giving away a free Meal Prep Party pass (valued at $125+ GST).
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  • And another long weekend comes to an end! Hope you had a great one. 💛 We spent time with family and friends, slept-in, binge-watched Netflix, long-walked the dogs, celebrated Thor's 6th birthday and celebrated @mikethyking's birthday at @TheRecRoomCA! 🤗
This is their tasty wood-grilled pork chop with pickled mustard, whipped potatoes and braised red cabbage. I also had their lemon-fried calamari which was delicious!
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Tonight we're kicking off the long weekend at @CrashLandHere! The new(ish) boutique hotel / restaurant is right across the street from @RogersPlace and totally surprised us with how good the food was. Like this braised short rib, egg, onion rings, deep fried pickle and aged cheddar brioche burger. 👌🏻 And fries. Really good fries. IG Story for more of our meal, and stay tuned for a fuller blog review & gift card giveaway! In the meantime, definitely recommend you give this place a try. ☺️

LINDORK