Kamloops presents substance abuse through photography

Addiction Matters Kamloops launches full gallery exhibition on lived truths of substance abuse

Famine, pictured above, is one of the many photos being showcased by the photo voice project. (Submitted)

With over a year in the making, the Addiction Matters Kamloops Coalition is set to launch Exposed: A Photo Voice Project to the people of Kamloops. The exhibition is aiming to give voices to those who have lived experiences with substance abuse, either personally or via family members.

The coalition works with various groups and organizations in the community to build knowledge and prevent the stigma attached to substance abuse. The stigma surrounding substance abuse has led to a possible distrust of the services available.

“In our eyes, stigma continues to be a big issue and gets in the way of responding to things like the overdose crisis,” said  Jessica Mensinger, chair of Addiction Matters Kamloops and representative for Interior Health. “It gets in the way of our systems being able to provide the supports and services that we need to provide to those with substance abuse issues.”

The coalition received over 60 submissions from individuals and families in Kamloops with lived experiences of substance abuse.

“This project is really focused on dialogue. We aren’t there to educate, but we’re there to open the conversation and move that conversation forward,” Mensinger said.

Exposed: A Photo Voice Project aims to give those who have first hand experience the opportunity to tell the story that they feel needs to be told.

All submissions were taken independently, with the optional guide of local photography company, Exposure Photography. Each submission is kept anonymous, but the storytelling with each tells a different story while still staying on the topic of substance abuse.

“We have people that have struggled in many different ways. We have men and women, people that are younger and older and people from various socio-economic statuses,” Mensinger said. “We made an effort to get a really broad range of people that contributed photos.”

Exposed: A Photo Voice Project is free to the public and guests are encouraged to come with an open mind.

Exposed will run for one night only on Sept. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m.. at the Old Courthouse Gallery.