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Calgary photographer rebuilds lost portfolio with #Sunnyside365

Calgary photographer rebuilds lost portfolio with #Sunnside365
April 4: A Calgary photographer is rebuilding nearly ten years of work after his computer crashed. As Sarah Offin reports, he’s taking a year to highlight one of our city’s most beloved spots.

CALGARY – Ara Shimoon is rebuilding his photography portfolio after losing almost a decade of work in what he calls “a catastrophic computer meltdown” nearly a year ago.

He starts each morning the same way.

“It’s double armericano with a savory scone on the regular and he’s always talking to people here,” Carmen Pederson, a barista at the Roasterie Café, said.

Shimoon is using his community as a backdrop for his latest project.

#Sunnyside365 captures a photo for every day of the year, featuring people and places that make Sunnyside home.

“The neighbourhood changes day by day,” Shimoon said. “Right now you can see the leaves and the buds starting to pop up on the trees. So it’s neat to explore that at a street level.”

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#Sunnyside365 July 23, 2015.
#Sunnyside365 July 23, 2015. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 January 25, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 January 25, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 February 25, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 February 25, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 February 23, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 February 23, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 February 20, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 February 20, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 February 13, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 February 13, 2016. Ara Shimoon
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#Sunnyside365 March 29, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 March 29, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 March 26, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 March 26, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 March 19, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 March 19, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 March 16, 2016.
#Sunnyside365 March 16, 2016. Ara Shimoon
#Sunnyside365 June, 2015.
#Sunnyside365 June, 2015. Ara Shimoon

Sunnyside is home to the well-to-do and struggling artists alike. It’s a strange mix. Infill neighbours historic homes.

“It was a big turning point in the project when I realized that there’s a real human story here based on the sorts of people that come through the neighbourhood,” Shimoon said. “A lot of people love this place, but they can’t afford to stay.”

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Each photo includes a story and quotes, describing each subject’s connection to one of Calgary’s oldest communities.

“It feels [like] home, and it feels comfortable. So you’re free to be yourself here, no matter who you are,” Crystal Dew, a clerk at New Age bookstore, told Shimoon.

“It’s great to see people that you know or spots in the community that you walk past all the time that you never take the time to think about. Then you just read his commentary about it, it’s a really special experience,” Pederson said. She follows Shimoon’s daily posts to Instagram and other social media networks.

While Sunnyside itself continues to rebuild following the 2013 flood – and the city battles an economic downturn – Shimoon’s journey reflects promise in the next step.

“There’s some fantastic people here helping each other out [in] good times [and] tough times,” Shimoon said. “Really, it’s a resilient, spirited neighbourhood in a wonderful city.”
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