Social Media Social Media Spotlight

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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  • New on the blog: a Guide to Instagrammable Walls of Medicine Hat! ☺️ Lots of lovely #IGWallsofMedHat / photo spots in this city. 📸
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#medicinehat #medhat #instagrammablewalls #instagrammablewallsofmedhat #igwall #igwalls #igwallsofalberta #alberta #travelalberta #explorealberta @tourismmedicinehat @tourismalberta #mural #muralwall #southernalberta #arts #yegtomedhat
  • 🐙 🐙 🐙Takoyaki Thursday. 🐙🐙🐙
Or any day, for 50 cents as part of @ikkiyeg's Happy Hour! Ikki will be part of this weekend's Edmonton Fall Home Show (@yeghomeshows) Cooking Stage along with a bunch of other great #yegfood restaurants/chefs. 🍽 Preview at the link in my bio AND if you want to win a pair of tickets to the show, leave a comment below and tagging a friend! Will pick a winner by 4 pm today. #EFHS17 🐙
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#yeg #edmonton #exploreedmonton #yegdt #takoyaki #octopus #japanesefood #edmontonfallhomeshow #downtownedmonton #yegdtfood #ikkiizakaya #izakaya #bonitoflakes
  • On a lifelong mission to take photos at all the colourful walls. 💙
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#instagrammablewalls #igwalls #igwallsofyyc #capturecalgary #calgary #calgaryalberta #explorealberta #travelalberta #bluewall #colourfulwall #downtowncalgary #calgaryarts #reidson17th #17thave @tourismcalgary #yegtoyyc #yeg
  • New on the blog: a review of @AnChayYEG, Edmonton's first all-Vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant! 😍😋 I think with #AnChayYEG I could finally commit to #MeatlessMonday! 😉 Loved this Vegetarian version of one of my favourite Vietnamese soups: spicy lemongrass #bunbohue. Dad & I also tried their shredded tofu rolls & lotus salad. Click the link in my bio to read the full review! 💻📱
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#yeg #yegfood #exploreedmonton #edmonton #yegdt #jasperave #anchay #vegetarian #vietnamesefood #vietnamesevegetarian #bicuon #lotussalad #healthyeats #meatlessmondays #souperb
  • This weekend @mikethyking & I drove down to #MedicineHat to surprise our good friend Jack for his 30th birthday! He was thoroughly surprised. 😊 Then today we explored #MedHat #InstagrammableWalls! 📸 I'll be writing up an #IGWallsofMedHat guide, and sharing some food spots we visited, on the blog soon! 📱💻
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#explorealberta #alberta #sunshinestateofmind #southernalberta #travelalberta #instagrammable #instagrammablewall #igwalls #graffitiwall #muralwall #romper #weekend #yeg #yegtomedhat #sunshinestate
  • This week we celebrated my mom & dad's birthdays with a feast at @chaforteapalace! 🎉 (Their birthdays are 4 days from each other). Dad doesn't like birthdays though so when we said "Happy birthday!" he replied with "You mean Unhappy Birthday. 👨🏻" lol. Sure dad. 😂
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#yeg #yegfood #crab #crablegs #chafortea #chaforteapalace #chineserestaurant #birthdaydinner #happybirthday #asianfood #chinesefood #birthdayfeast #moustacheman👨🏻 #exploreedmonton #edmonton #10coursemeal
  • Looking forward to another weekend of adventures with this guy! 👫🌈
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#mikeandlindork #rainbowbridge #yyc #summerside #calgary #capturecalgary #calgaryarts #calgarywalls #instagrammablewalls #IGWallsofYYC #yegtoyyc #explorealberta #explorecalgary #mikeandlinda #yeg #humpday #happyhumpday
  • Thankful for all the beautiful, delicious food in my life. 😌💕 (and the people I eat it with). Thanks @sugaredandspiced for this buttercream cake 🎂! Bringing to share with the extended family for #Thanksgiving. I requested "something pretty" and "Instagrammable." 😂✔️✔️
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#yeg #yegfood #edmonton #exploreedmonton #buttercreamcake #instagrammablefood #instagrammable #beautifulcake #macarons #buttercream #pinkicing #sugaredandspiced #meringue #yegbakery #happythanksgiving #canadianthanksgiving
  • I don't know if anyone has noticed but I've been alternating food / people / food / people posts for over a month now and it's taken quite a bit of dedication to the grid but I'm doing it. It's fun too lol. 
This is the #instalife 😂
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#alberta #explorealberta #travelalberta #yeg #edmonton #exploreedmonton #capturecalgary #calgary #aftertheflood @jameswyper #yycarts #instagrammablewalls #IGWallsofYYC #lavielente #weekend #sundayfunday #yyc #downtowncalgary #iglife #yegfashion #brightwalls #muralwall
  • Got to try the @fairmontmac's new "Beast Board" today with @letsomnom and oh my gah is it a delicious feast. 🤤 For $99, this board feeds two people and includes your choice of 3 proteins (and chef's choice of vegetables / sides). 🙌🏻 Not sure what to rave about first.. delicious beets, risotto and whipped potatoes. Even better duck, lamb, and salmon. Excellent pea purée. This is officially on the dinner menu as of Oct. 12 but you can order it off menu until then (just ask your server!) Don't forget the Fairmont also has a harvest farm to table dinner with @myprairiegardens next Friday Oct. 13! Check their page for more details @fairmontmac. And Happy Long Weekend Friday!!! 😍
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#yeg #yegfood #exploreedmonton #edmonton #macmemories #beastboard #macbeastboard #meatboard #fairmonthotels #yegdt #damngoodfood #longweekend #happyfriday
  • 4 years married to @mikethyking! #allthatimafterisalifefulloflaughter 💕
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#mikeandlindork #yeg #edmonton #wedding #weddinganniversary #fouryearsmarried #exploreedmonton #oldtimerscabin  #weddingphotos #mikeandlinda
  • Isn't all we really need in life cheese and prosciutto?💕
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