An amateur photographer is attempting to chronicle the people of Kelowna and their stories on a community Facebook page, and he is already generating a lot of attention.
Giovanni Vidotto is a former educator and counselor who has always enjoyed meeting new people. He has been taking photos in Kelowna for almost three years, but only started the social media page earlier this month.
He begins by introducing himself, handing over a business card and asking for a photo.
“People seem pretty enthusiastic about it,” says Vidotto, having already met random strangers who are familiar with his page.
“And at this stage of my life I’m sort of withdrawing from the therapy field and using my skills as a writer, photographer and interviewer to focus on people.”
The project began when he came across a Facebook page for Humans of New York. It’s similar to his in that it profiles ordinary citizens taking part in day-to-day activities, but Vidotto chooses to ask his subjects a question in addition to taking their photo.
“It inspired me to begin creating humans of Kelowna because I believe Kelownians want to know about each other. They’re open, they’re forthcoming and they want to share what’s on their minds and in their hearts,” he says.
“These are questions I need to ask myself, these are questions everyone needs to ask themselves. These are not questions specifically directed to specific people; they’re generic questions, existential questions. Questions about meaning and purpose such as ‘Who am I in this world’, ‘Where am I going?’, ‘What’s this life all about?’”
Vidotto says these questions come from the heart and are questions that everyone has asked themselves at one point or another.
Perhaps surprisingly, he says the overwhelming response to his introductions have been positive and when someone is upfront with a stranger and shows a caring attitude, people are willing to share.
His goal throughout this project is to bring the community together and he hopes the page will act as a tool to create discussion and show people there are others who think and feel the same way about their fears, needs, ambitions and experiences.
Vidotto says he is constantly meeting new people; so don’t be surprised if a stranger asks to take your photo.