Culture

September 1 2017

This is #MyGastown – with Peggy Liu (aka @waxmepoetic)

Interviewed by: JP McGlynn

How long have you been taking pictures?

I’ve been on Instagram for a few years, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to consider the more artistic elements of photography, like colour composition, lines, shapes, framing, movement, etc.

Once I did, it was like an artistic screen permanently covered my eyes, and I would see these elements everywhere. If I don’t, I’d seek them out.

Do you take more photos with your phone or your camera?

I don’t own a camera! I actually have no knowledge of how to use them, either, although I’d like to learn. As my love for photography grows, I find myself thinking more about using a camera to challenge the way I take photos. Unfortunately, my student budget has prevented me from purchasing proper photography gear. In any case, I would like to think one can take just as good photos on an iPhone as a proper camera.

Has street photography always been your thing?

I never had the desire to do street photography until I traveled to Europe this past May. Perhaps it was the history or the abundance of art, but something about the cities I went to had an inherent beauty to them that was evident in their streets.

They felt well-worn: alive, with stories to tell. The writer part of me immediately fell in love with that. I started to see this in Vancouver after I returned, especially in Gastown!

What was your favourite place to visit in Europe and why?

I loved every place I went to in Europe, but hands down, my favourite place was Italy. I went to Florence and Rome, and I immediately fell in love with how rich and lively the Italian culture is.

I had no ties to Italy prior to visiting, but somehow, Florence felt like home. It was a strange mixture of exhilaration of being in a new place for the first time and relief at finally coming home.

Do have a favourite spot in Gastown?

Yes: Nelson the Seagull! The staff probably know this already, since I go there often and take so many coffee photos. I can’t help it when their bread and almond milk lattes are sometimes the only thing I look forward to in the day. Nemesis is a close favourite too; their coffee and service is outstanding and their lavender lemon tarts always mock my self-control.

What do you love about the neighbourhood (Gastown)?

I love how Gastown is such a multi-faceted neighbourhood. It has a different face at night than the one it wears during the day, and different parts of Gastown have different personalities—just look at the corner of West Hastings versus the length of Water Street. Because the neighbourhood is so multi-faceted, I see Gastown as a place that encourages people to be themselves, where it’s okay to look or act a little differently and where my creativity as an artist and writer can thrive. The coffee culture is also fantastic here. I met a lot of cool people who work in these cafes while productively getting my schoolwork and writing for my blog done!

Is there a theme to your takeover?

I consider myself a storyteller above all things, so my love for writing, painting, drawing, and photography always incorporates a hint of a story or an overarching theme. So, yes! I try to tie things in a series together in a cohesive way to make them more digestible.