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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  • An Instagrammable Wall blast from my past! I used to work at @globaledmonton doing a bunch of things over a few years.. video editing, web producing, news producing, writing and helping people in the Troubleshooter department! Been wanting to photograph this wall for awhile now (#IGWallsofYEG) and finally did this weekend. ☺️Apparently it's also a #PokemonGo hot spot lol. 😅
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  • Had an awesome time touring Instagrammable Walls of Chinatown / east Downtown this weekend with my co-host @britl & this great group of people! There is no shortage of things to do in Edmonton in the summer so I definitely appreciated these guys choosing an #IGWallsofYEG #photowalk! 🙏🏻 This wall is called #ThunderBirdAlley on 105 Ave between 96 and 97 Street. 👌🏻 Would largely go unnoticed for those walking or driving along 97 Street but definitely deserves some attention! Another walk is in the works for September, stay tuned! ☺️
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  • Dreaming of gelato. 💕🍧 I was out in #SturgeonCounty tonight at the annual Sturgeon County Bounty #CulinaryCookout and this raspberry lime gelato from @davincigelato was lovely. The #SturgeonCountyBounty is such a stellar event - think Taste of Edmonton & Heritage Festival with awesome #tasteab food but more of a relaxed, less crowded environment, great portion sizes / value, that fresh country air and lovely live music! Mark your calendars for next year- add it to your summer festival list! Check my IG Stories and my pal @argenplath's feed for more scenes from the festival! 😊
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  • A feast for dinner tonight with @littlmissandrea and our baes at the new Nara Chicken & Tonkatsu on the west end! 😋 We basically tried their whole menu 😅 and thought it was great! A pretty casual spot in a strip mall, with quick service, affordable prices, and tasty dishes! Welcome to the neighbourhood, Nara. 👋🏻
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  • * * * G I V E A W A Y * * * 
The @UrbanDogBox, an #EdmontonMade dog treat & toy box delivery service, sent @OliveAndArtie a box to try and they loved it! 🐕💕 You can choose from 3 different sizes of boxes, and on 3 different payment options (one-time, three-months or six-months). All the box contents promise to be high quality and healthy/organic! You can check out the #UrbanDogBox at the @edmonton_humane_society's #MadeForPets market this Sunday (Aug 12 from 12-5 pm). And enter below to win a box to try for your #doggos! 🐶
1. Follow the @UrbanDogBox 
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* * UPDATE * * Congrats @amanda_doucette! You've won!! 🤗 Thanks to everyone who entered!
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  • The best thing @mikethyking and I have ever done is get Thor. 😻 Which led to Loki. Which led to @OliveAndArtie. But this post is just about #ThorAndLoki because it's #WorldCatDay! 🐱🐱 Can't imagine life without my fur babes. #LetsLiveBig #InternationalCatDay 😸
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  • Meat sweats anyone? 😍😅 So excited Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse @eatpampayeg is expanding to south Edmonton! They're officially open Aug 9. Check my IG Stories / blog (link in bio) for a preview! I love Brazilian rodizio (delicious all you can eat rotisserie meat BBQ, served on giant skewers at your table!) plus salad bar.. plus unbelievable Brazilian cheese balls... 😍 The rump steak is featured in this photo and is definitely my favourite of the 15 cuts of meat they offer! 😌
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