Words: Polina Bachlakova
Photo: courtesy VNB
It seems that Vancouverites are often told we’re a little bit… different. Whether it’s a comment on our easy breezy West Coast attitude or the paradoxical social phenomenon of being really smiley on the outside yet impermeable and icy on the inside, Vancouver is often prescribed titles of “uniqueness” — for better or worse. Despite the stereotypes, however, there is something undeniably Vancouver brewing in the city right now and rapidly gaining momentum as time passes. Vancouver’s creative community is thriving, hustling hard and fighting back against the price tag that comes with living here. It’s something to be celebrated and recognized—and that’s exactly what the team behind VNB Photo are doing.
Virginie Lamarche and Bastien Desfriches Doria moved to Vancouver a few years ago following a long stint of teaching photography in the United States after leaving their home country of France. Although they started VNB back in 2008 in Chicago as an artistic collaboration between them as a couple, Vancouver has inspired VNB in a very particular way. Enter the Vancouver creative scene, and the VNB project that resulted from it—Vancouver Creatives.
Launched last November, “Vancouver Creatives” is a collaborative Calotype photography project with the goal of representing the city’s best creative talent. The hauntingly beautiful and earnest photographs offer some very familiar faces – Chip & Shannon Wilson of Lululemon and Barrie Mowatt of the Vancouver Biennale make their appearances – but that stops mattering very quickly: Virginie & Bastien have managed to bring out vulnerabilities and poignancies in every portrait—whether they’re well-known creatives or new faces, each subject is put on the same introspective yet celebratory pedestal. It’s one thing to write about it, but you can see it in person this Thursday, June 19th: VNB are finally displaying their entire project in anticipation of a book launch at the Make Gallery on 7th & Main.
Simply put, it’s exhilarating to see VNB’s work. As Vancouver creatives – or any creatives, really – we sometimes get lost in our own little bubbles of goals, process and projects. VNB’s portraits, however, serve as reminders that despite the little bubbles that exist within our own creative worlds, there’s a robust and ambitious community underscoring it all. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.
“Vancouver Creatives”: A Photography Exhibition by VNB opens at the Make Gallery on Thursday, June 19 from 7-11 pm.