Welcome back to the Local Love Blog Series!
We’ve got a great feature this week on the amazing digital storyteller, Kristy Wolfe!
Photo Credit: Alexis McKeown
Her passion lies in teaching kids and adults how to narrate their own experiences through photography and digital storytelling. Kristy believes everyone has a story worth sharing, and her background as an educator inspires her love for mentoring others.
Kristy’s business is much more than just photography.
Despite her business being named Kristy Wolfe Photography, Kristy is largely focused on working with individuals and organizations to create digital stories. These are 3-5 minute movies that artfully blend carefully curated images with the storyteller’s voice and music to create an immersive experience. Watch and listen to Kristy explain all this in her own words here. While Kristy may not always be taking all or any of the photos included in a digital storytelling piece, her mastermind abilities in putting together these videos in a way that perfect expresses these very important stories is pure art.
When Kristy is taking photos, she takes a pretty unique approach.
Instead of taking posed photos or headshots of her subjects, Kristy will join the individual, family or group to capture a better sense of the entire experience as opposed to just the subject. Getting involved in the activity of the day allows Kristy to immerse herself in the experience and better convey that through her photos. Make sure to check out the current artsPlace exhibit, the Îyârhe Nakoda Youth Project where Kristy joined a group of students field trip and captured their experience.
For Kristy, her work is all about supporting people in telling stories about the meaningful moments in their lives.
She loves meeting new people, learning what they do, and discovering what their story is that they want to tell. Kristy thrives on seeing how conversations can lead to amazing new connections and collaborations. Her favourite part is immersing herself in the story being told and then building the digital story to best present it.
Kristy’s inspiration comes from a deeply personal experience as a “medical mama”.
It all started in 2012 when her son, Kane, was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a way to normalize the medical experience Kane was dealing with. Through this, Kristy was able to use her photography as an important and creative outlet to help her work through the challenging times. As she shared their story publicly, she also started photographing other medical families in and out of the hospital.
As Kane got older, Kristy recognized the importance of sharing her own story and experience.
This is when Kristy started teaching others about the benefits and importance of telling their own stories through photography and started working with people to find their voices through digital storytelling. Kristy is now a Level 2 Digital Storytelling Facilitator through Common Language Digital Storytelling.
Kristy finds a lot of inspiration from her own experiences.
Photo Credit: Alexis McKeown
Anytime she leads a workshop on photography or digital storytelling, Kristy shares part of her own story as a way to connect and show the beauty of vulnerability in her own storytelling. As she continues to share the benefits of digital storytelling, she hopes to work with more non-profit organizations to share this amazing gift.
Photography started mostly as a hobby for Kristy, before becoming a proper side-gig passion project!
Having taken a couple of photography courses before Kane’s birth in 2012, she built her skills as she documented her own family’s experience and as a volunteer photographer working with Ronald McDonald House families. In 2019, when her family relocated to Canmore, Kristy decided to take it from a side-hustle to her focus.
Since her time in the Bow Valley, Kristy has made some amazing connections and wanted to be sure to share some Local Love of her own.
First up on her list to acknowledge are Alexis McKeown, Kelly Vanderbeek, and Bryony Toon. She also loves the work being done at Alberta’s Own Marketplace, Rocky Mountain Adaptive, artsPlace, and Moselle Dibdin from Bow Valley Marketing. Kristy also partners with Sarah Freeman and Andria Lauren to put together their RAW Collective Podcast. She works with Helen Rose and Mary Michailides on Leading Through Stories, and with Mike Lang on Common Language Digital Storytelling.
Kristy had a long list of amazing organizations that she loves to support, that are focused on accessibility and equity, and has had the opportunity to work with, including the Wolfe Pack Warriors Foundations, Banff Canmore Community Foundation, Rocky Mountain Adaptive, artsPlace, Project All In, Bow Valley Immigration Partnership, Bow Valley Connections Centre, YWCA Banff.
One of the most important ones is to talk about what you’re passionate about, be it good or bad. The more you’re willing and open to talking, the more likely and easily you will find your people. Shifting from her identity as a teacher and discovering where she fits and identifies herself now has also been an important learning experience.
Stay tuned for more in-person workshops with Kristy to dive into digital storytelling where she hopes to see them in the fall at artsPlace – be sure to check the artsPlace program guide this fall! The best place to stay up to date on everything Kristy is up to is by signing up for her newsletter, you can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook, or check out more about her work on her website.
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