Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
“The Close Park” is a name that my family and I have given to the play area next to our house. Over the years, it has grown with us, becoming an extension of our home in more ways than one. Upon immigrating to Canada in 2013, then moving to Hamilton, Ontario in 2017, we’ve spent many days and nights at “the close park” getting to know our new home through our neighbours, some of whom are newcomers, just like us, while others were born-and-raised in this city. Oftentimes, I’ve had a camera with me to shoot my family, and as we continued to spend our time in the close park, I began to take snapshots of my neighbours as well.
What started as snapshots slowly developed into 4x5 large-format portraits. In addition to documenting my neighbours and friends, I've ventured outside of our park, immersing myself in the environments around my neighbourhood and the surrounding areas, taking portraits of strangers so I could intertwine “the familiar” with “the new”. By capturing the cultural diversity of the people in my community, their emotions and their connection to the space that they occupy and to each other, I aim to create a visual representation of my new home. As The Close Park is an ongoing, long-term project, I hope it can also help me better understand what it means to be Canadian.