A local photographer is set to release his second photobook just in time for the holidays, with proceeds going back to the community at the heart of the book.
Letters from Spryfield marks Geoffrey Howard’s second publication. He released a photobook of Sambro in 2020, planning to sell 50 copies, but ended up selling more than 350.
Proceeds from his debut offering helped raise $1,750 for a local playground in Spryfield.
“That really opened my eyes to the fact that there can be quite an impact made from selling artwork, especially community-oriented artwork that people want because it can be a time capsule,” Howard said.
Now, Howard will be donating $5 from each book to Chebucto Connections, a local community organization that offers resources and supports, including food markets, a library club, and a Pathways to Education program for high-school students.
The book contains 50 photographs from landmarks and hotspots around Spryfield. Howard also included four pieces from local poets in the book.
Howard turned a hobby into a career about two years ago after his father was diagnosed with leukemia. He began doing family photoshoots and portrait shots, while donating half of the proceeds to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Canada.
Howard, who grew up in Sambro, spent much of his childhood in Spryfield.
“It's where my first job was, where I played my first hockey game,” Howard said. “That's where I went for swimming lessons, where I went to high school and I've got people who I consider second family.”
Howard says while Spryfield has been stigmatized, he believes the community “gets a bad rap for not much of a justified reason.”
“It's a community that really gets overlooked,” Howard said, adding he wants to show Spryfield has an abundance of things worth remembering and capturing.
Howard finished his undergraduate degree in May and spent his summer planting trees, often being alone for eight or nine hours at a time. During that summer, he spent a long time deciding what he’d like to do next. The Spryfield photobook was one idea that “wouldn’t leave [his] psyche.”
“Day after day, I would think about, ‘How do I actually want to do this? How [can] I do it in a way where I'm not just coming into the community to take advantage of it?’”
That’s where Chebucto Connections came in. Any donation could help with food insecurity, education, and community engagement.
“For me, education is something that's quite important,” Howard said. “Specifically, there's a lot of kids who don't take don't take education seriously enough or are from backgrounds where it doesn't allow them to take their education to the scale that they really would like to.”
So far, Howard has sold 230 copies, making more than $1,100 for Chebucto Connections.Copies of the book can be purchased here, or at Serpent Brewing and Uncle Buck’s.