Portraits of Gastown - Jakob Gjerluff Ager

Portraits of Gastown

Through my internship with Wallop Film in Vancouver I've been shooting a portraits series around the old part of town - Gastown. We did to make ourselves visible to the community and possible connections in the area. 

I rarely do portraits, especially people I don't know. I find it very intimidating and intimate at the same time. First of all reaching out to people I don't know and asking them if I can not only interview them, but also take their portrait has been a huge learning experience and I'm very glad I did. I'm sure it will benefit me in my future work. 


Here is the final posts for the piece.

Pip and Chip are a combo you can’t miss or soon forget. Regulars in the Gastown neighbourhood and a big part of our family, Pippa arrived here from England seeking adventures in the mountains, for which she is well known. She adopted Chip, a charismatic Chihuahua cross Boston Terrier, and since then they’ve been inseparable. Chip had a bad car accident last year, rendering him completely blind; but despite all odds the tough little guy is himself and enjoying life again. Today they both start a new chapter, and we want to wish them the absolute best. We're going to miss having them both in the office, good thing they’re only moving next door!

Meet Liam Greenlaw . Born in the east end of Glasgow, he started off as a sign painter and street artist. His style doesn't come from a formal education but the world of graffiti art, where he learned from a number of artists while travelling the world. Today he spends his time creating fonts / movie posters, directing commercials and creating his own art (check his profile). His career has moved him around Europe & the US and 10 years ago he settled in Vancouver with his family. Always one to do things differently, Liam plans on moving to Bulgaria with his wife to open a gallery & art school in the city of Plovdiv, which will be European Culture Capital in 2019.

Meet Hooka Hermosa. Born and raised on the outskirts of Ottawa, her mom (a tattoo artist herself) taught her to draw and use a tattoo machine. She ran away from home at 15 to pursue an independent life where she found herself making her own way on the streets. Despite sleeping in -20c at times and not knowing what was around the corner, she loved the freedom that her new street family afforded her. While visiting her mom in her early 20s, she had to step in on a busy day at the tattoo parlour to help out, and has worked as a pro tattoo artist ever since. Her path gave her a new outlook on life, and despite doing well she relates more with her street family than the society she ran away from as a girl. She is about to embark on a new journey, guest-starring at different parlours around the world... Hooka will keep her apartment here in Gastown, admitting she’s got a little “fancy” over the last few years. She hopes to keep moving, see the world, and one day join a metal band.

Another one of our ‘Gastown portrait’ series. Meet, Graeme Campbell, a rare full-blooded Vancouverite from East Vancouver. Graeme has an encyclopaedic knowledge of film, so don’t get him started lest you have some time on your hands. He couldn’t afford to go to film school after college, so he made up by hanging out with those who could. They started making short films, got better, then started winning awards and prizes at film festivals. Graeme now works in Gastown using his writing and directing skills at Point Blank, a communications agency that help creates social change. He’s always on the lookout for that next light bulb moment.

Have you ever strolled down Homer street on your way to Gastown and wondered what was behind the nearly all covered windows in the little thrift store “Lady Madonna” above Jimi Hendrix Shrine? Well if you go in you’ll meet a true Vancouver old timer. She goes by the name of Doons and was born just south of the border 61 years ago. She grew up on a farm, but spend the nights painting, sewing and playing music. At 20 she moved to Seattle and used her eye for detail working with a famous heart surgeon on groundbreaking research on the many methods used today. After 6 years her urge to see world got to strong and she left and never looked back. The next several decades were spend traveling the world as a street vendor. From the narrow streets of Manila to mountain villages in Peru and tourist busy cities of the mediterranean. From time to time she would come back to the PNW and live in the back of van selling exotic goods from faraway. Finally she took over her shop on Homer street after a street vendor friend and have had it ever since. Though she still travels a fair amount the world mostly comes to her now she says. What the future brings is hard to say, but Doons hopes to move to Sicily with her italian husband. We asked her for any life advise and she answered: “Life's a banquet, have at it!”

Meet Cole Trepanier, 30 years old, co-founder and co-owner at Nemesis coffee. It wouldn't be offensive to call him a real nerd; He grew up playing video games in Hope and finally moved to Vancouver in 2009 to study chemistry at UBC. He actually never started it, since his new job as a barista quickly overtook his whole life and became his passion. At the time Vancouver wasn't the coffee scene it is today and him and his friends set out to revolutionize what people thought coffee could be. 2011-2012 Cole went on a learning trip to Australia to be on the forefront of coffee culture and bring it back to the PNW. In the years following he worked around town and eventually opened Nemesis with some of his friends on Valentines day 2017, a huge success from day one. “Good coffee comes from a healthy supply chain” Cole says. He is passionate about every step of the way from working with well paid farmers to the best handling of the beans along the way. “The coffee gets more expensive in the end, but that just means that we got to do our absolute best to make it worth it!”

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