Instagram Influencer | Funeh Aliu

I tend to pick up a new interest, focus on it for a while, and then move into other forms of creativity. I have been a writer, an app developer, an interior designer, now mostly a photographer. It's been three years since I started making photographs everyday. Hence, the one interest I have been most consistent with. Maybe this is it! I will photograph anything, but I am most drawn to photos of people. All of my street photos are candid. If required, I'll ask for permission, but only after the photo is on my memory card.

The moment I clock out of my engineering job, I transform into an artist. I love the unpredictability of street photography; it allows for freedom, creativity and imagination. 

What inspired you to take over the lifeincalgary Instagram account?
I am passionate about capturing the heartbeat of this city through candid photos of its people. People fascinate me! My interest in people drives me to grab my camera, allowing me to interact with those I wouldn't otherwise meet.
I thought to myself, “what could possibly showcase ‘Life in Calgary’ better than sharing the everyday lives of Calgarians?” My work, @CalgaryStreets, creates a snapshot of life on the streets of Calgary.

Where did you come from and what attracted you to the city?
In Lagos, where I grew up, daily ‘action' is a guarantee on the streets.The abrupt lull in the volume of action in Calgary was, to me, like turning down the noise. It didn't take long before I could hear music in the daily lives of Calgarians--visual music that is. I became attracted to the city. Only then, did I get into street photography. I have now become this city’s adopted son, having lived here for the greater part of my adult life.

What do you do in your spare time? Favourite Calgary past-time or activity?
Most of my free time is spent editing old photos or making new ones. I’ll almost always grab my camera as I head out for a walk or for a bike ride. I will typically go to National on 10th a few times every month to play table tennis, hang out with friends or make new ones.

Where is your favorite place to eat or visit in Calgary?
Stephen Ave is my favourite place to take photos. I love the restaurants, the energy and volume of people there.
Analog on 17th Avenue is my go to out-of-home office – I love the snacks, the overall atmosphere and the large windows for people watching.

What is a fun fact people wouldn’t know about you?
I have 'lived' in 8 different cities for at least eight months each. 

Any tips or advice for Calgary newcomers or those considering a move to Calgary?
Wear sunglasses--especially in the winter. Get a bike – there are so many bike paths and lots of exploring you can do.

What do you tell your friends and family from other cities about life in Calgary?
I tell them how friendly Calgarians are. I think Calgarians are welcoming because most of them are not originally from Calgary, which tends to make them more accepting of people from other cities.

Where do you take friends and family when they visit?
Banff for the day out. Analog on 17th for afternoon tea and a chat. Village Ice Cream to indulge. Klein/Harris on 8th Avenue for a relaxing dinner on their comfy couches. National for drinks and hanging with other Calgarians.

What do you think is the biggest surprise about Calgary for anyone who isn’t familiar with the city?
Earlier in the year, I posted a video on snapchat taken from my balcony of downtown Calgary. The video was a pan showing high-rise buildings lit at night. A few minutes later a friend living in New York sent this response – “I thought you lived in Calgary”. He later explained that he had no idea Calgary actually looked like a ‘real city’.

How has the city influenced who you are or your organization?
The less dense population of Calgary meant less ‘action‘ to capture. It therefore helped my photography by training my eyes to see details that I would otherwise not have cared to look out for.

Experiencing Calgary through my viewfinder gives me a special connection to the city. I soak up more of the essence of a place, its people and the culture, when I take pictures of its streets than I do when I just walk through. That in turn makes me feel like a Calgary ambassador.


**All photos were taken by @calgarystreets during their take over of @lifeincalgary.
Want to become an Instagram Influnecer and contribute to lifeincalgary? Email [email protected] 

Experiencing Calgary through my viewfinder gives me a special connection to the city.

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