Telling Stories with Images
Click on a project below to jump to a specific section.
Creating impact within our community
Recognizing the power of authentic stories, Kristy works with individuals, non-profits and values-based businesses throughout the Bow Valley.
These projects showcase the resilience of the people in our community, our neighbours, family, and friends, as well as the impact made by local organizations.
Suicide Survivors Project
The Suicide Survivors Project is a collaboration with the Bow Valley Community Helpers Program and the Town of Banff to tell the stories of suicide survivors in the Bow Valley. The goals of the photo project are to hold space for those left behind and to spark conversations about suicide.
“Survivor: Kristy Wolfe
Loved one: Dennis Morgan, Dad
Artifact: My dad’s stethoscope is important to me. You see, my dad was a cardiologist. I didn’t realize the intricacies of his job until my son, Kane, was born with congenital heart defects. My dad was still with us when we initially found out about Kane’s heart through fetal echocardiograms, during the learning stages of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as for Kane’s first heart surgery. My dad was around when Maverick was born heart healthy. My dad was no longer with us when Kane had his most recent heart surgery or when he received a pacemaker last September. My dad was a cardiologist. He knew more than any of us just what was in store for Kane and I will never know if that added stress led to his death. But I cannot control that. What I can control is how I talk about mental health. I make a point of checking in with our medical staff about how they are doing. Because they are in it with us.”
Read more about the Suicide Survivor Project in any of the blogs below.
Stories of Resilience Project
The Stories of Resilience Project is a story-gathering research project to capture images and histories of residents in the Bow Valley, AB, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was brought to life by a collaboration between four local organizations in 2020/2021: Bow Valley Immigration Partnership (BVIP), artsPlace Canmore, Canmore Museum and Kristy Wolfe Photography.
“I am so grateful for the connections that have come about because of the Stories of Resilience Project. Both with people in the Bow Valley, as well as organizations. I am so honoured to help tell stories for so many people in our community.”
Watch this video created by Alexis McKeown of some of the Stories.
The Front Steps Project
For Kristy, the Stories of Resilience Project began when photographers across North America joined in The Front Steps Project. Photographers offered free 5-10 minute photos session and a couple photos in return for “paying it forward” to a local charity or by doing a random act of kindness.
“There has been some controversy regarding the Front Steps Project and whether it is appropriate for photographers to be documenting families at this time. I would argue that it IS important. The stories in my Personal Projects: Finding Meaning post are from families I have photographed for this project. Each of these families chose to write about how the current crisis has affected their families and their mental health. Each of these women share stories from their lives, their fears and anxieties, as well as some of the things they are grateful for. I would argue that this project helps us to feel connected to our community. It helps us to see our family, friends, and neighbours and recognize our collective strength and resilience. But, perhaps more importantly, it helps us to see ourselves.”
Read more about Kristy’s Front Steps Project in any of the blogs below.
Canmore Museum & BVIP Interviews
Staff from the Canmore Museum and Bow Valley Immigration Partnership interviewed Front Steps participants and then recruited additional foreign born Canadian storytellers for the #BowValleyLocals initiative. The collection of Bow Valley Locals stories can be found on Canmore Museum’s website.
“One of the reasons I photograph medical, special needs and palliative families is because caregivers need to see themselves in their family’s story. I am now photographing the Front Steps Project for very similar reasons. Unexpected things happen. That’s life. And as Brené said in her first episode of Unlocking Us “This is our F-ing first time in a global pandemic”. The first time we do anything is hard. But talking about it (or writing or photographing) might just give us some clarity about how to move forward.”
Excerpt from Kristy’s Finding Meaning post.
Bow Valley Locals
Through the Bow Valley Locals Project with the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership, Kristy met Tannia and her family. Together, they created a digital story. In Becoming a Local, Tannia tells her story as a newcomer to the Bow Valley. She shares what it was like to move to Canada from Mexico and to find herself in her new community.
“Moving here in the summer made me want to hike a mountain. I asked a friend to “teach” me how to hike. We hiked Ha Ling Peak and, again, I didn’t do my research. That hike is rated as difficult. I didn’t have hiking shoes. I didn’t know how painful it would be. I couldn’t keep up and it was embarrassing.”
– Excerpt from Becoming a Local – A Digital Story by Tannia Burelo
The purpose of the Stories of Resilience Exhibit was to capture the voices of our community in a difficult year. More than 50 locals submitted around 100 pieces of artwork, photographs, poetry, and captivating stories. This ambitious project came together thanks to a cross-community partnership between artsPlace, Canmore Museum, Bow Valley Immigration Partnership, and Kristy Wolfe Photography, along with voices from Stoney Nakoda community members Thomas Snow and Alice Kaquitts.
“The Front Steps Projects was about mental health. It was really important for my own mental health, just to be out there, to be able to take pictures, and make connections from a distance. But it was also really important for the folks that I photographed, to have something to look forward to.”
Excerpt from artsPlace’s video Community Creativity in a Time of Crisis
Adrienne Lawlor’s Crafting Calm workshop was a free art-making session for newcomer families with children under the age of ten. Adrienne created a space at artsPlace where family’s were able to express feelings while building resilience together, through movement, music, and mindfulness activities.
Find out about more classes and workshops by visiting artsPlace’s website.
Building Neighbours Builds Community
The goal of the Town of Canmore’s community art project was to bring together members of the community to celebrate the diversity of culture and the diversity of people living in their local neighbourhoods. Kristy worked with a group of seniors from Origin at Spring Creek and the community to create visual stories using photographs. Each participant chose a theme that was important to them, either by capturing new images or by re-purposing images they already had. The each told a different story; a story of their experience, a story of their history.
“Calling all photography enthusiasts, regardless of ability. I want to tell visual stories with you. My name is Kristy Wolfe and I am a storytelling photographer. I have been awarded a grant from the Town of Canmore to work with seniors in our community to create some type of photography project. I have some ideas, but this is a collaborative project, so think of me more as your personal photography mentor.”
Read more from Kristy’s Stories of Lives Well Lived blog here.
Let’s get started on your project!
Personal photography projects promote healing
Since becoming a mother to a child with medical complications, Kristy has been heavily involved in supporting other people dealing with challenging situations as a photographer, a peer mentor, and as a digital storyteller.
Together Project with Kane
Together is a photography project in collaboration with Kristy’s son, Kane. Throughout his life, Kristy photographed his medical journey and wrote from her perspective, but as Kane got older she realized it was not just her story to tell. Together began as a diptych project involving both Kristy’s perspective and Kane’s perspective.
“Kane and I tell our healthcare story together through photography. At this stage of the game, for Kane, I think it’s something fun to do with mom, something to pass the time at hospital appointments. For me, it’s how I manage the nerves and feelings that come up around those same hospital appointments. Photography is my outlet. Finding my photo voice gave me a feeling of control. Telling our story is how I tell the world that it’s okay to not be okay.”
Learn more about the Together Project by clicking on any of the blogs below.
Our Hospital Story
Photography and storytelling has been a major part of Kristy’s personal mental health and healing journey since becoming a medical mom. Her hope is other families living medical stories will see themselves through what she shares and feel less alone. With her camera and she words, Kristy wants to create space for herself and for others to heal.
Read more about her family’s medical story by clicking on any of the blogs below.
Are you ready to tell your story?
I Was There Too
I Was There Too is a series of conversations Kristy has with families, photographers, and sometimes even healthcare professionals documenting and normalizing life with medical complexities. Kristy believes all caregivers need to see themselves in their story.
“In September 2019, Raz of Slice of Love Photography came to photograph our family. She documented the story of Kane’s second heart surgery. Perhaps most importantly for my grief story, Raz captured images of me…the medical mom…the caregiver…the photographer…the heart warrior. Because I was there, too.” – Excerpt from Kristy’s Sharing Our Hearts post
Click the images below to read Kristy’s I Was There Too blog posts or watch each of the ten I Was Here Too conversations on YouTube.
Leading Through Stories
Leading Through Stories, is an authentic conversation about successes, learnings and sometimes the things we would rather forget. Mary, Kristy and Helen believe everyone is a leader from where they stand and that we all have a story to tell. By sharing our stories we create connections, build relationships and support ourselves and each other through comfortable as well as uncomfortable experiences.
It is human nature to try to help our friends, neighbours, family, and friends though their grief. This compulsion to offer advice, or say something we think will ease the pain, often serves to diminish the feelings people are experiencing, and can sometimes even cause harm, despite our best intentions. It is important to knowContinue reading “Leading Through Stories: The Gift of Grief”
We have all experienced meaningful moments in our lives that have transformed us. Although each of these stories is unique to us, the impact and lessons we learn are often universal. That is why story creates connection and builds relationships. Sharing these stories gives us the opportunity to not only support ourselves through these experiences,Continue reading “Leading Through Stories: Tell Your Story”
What does impactful leadership mean to you? What words come to mind? Perhaps the names of people who have impacted you through a traditional leadership role; a manager, CEO, or team leader. Perhaps values and characteristics show up for you; passion, authenticity, great communicator, and visionary might top the list. When you create a pictureContinue reading “Leading Through Stories: Impactful Leadership”
Connect with Mary, Kristy and Helen
You are invited to get in on the laughter, share your comments and questions, and get involved in the conversation.