T he saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In Chris Donovan’s case, a picture holds much more value than that. The 19-year-old photographer’s work was recently featured at the National Art Gallery of Canada, a career triumph for many artists and one achieved by Donovan years before graduation. Selected through the So You Want to Be an Artist 2014 program by the gallery curator, Donovan’s piece On the Edge was one of 15 chosen nationally. “It was great to have my work selected for the National Gallery,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in photography. I remember taking photos around our house when I was little. I’m probably the last generation to learn how to take pictures on film.” This interest also has a family connection. Donovan’s grandfather was a photographer. Although he died shortly before Donovan was born, he says this history had a big impact on him. “I never met my grandfather, but feel his work has influenced me. I have a tattoo of his signature over my heart,” he says. He has put this inherited talent to good use, using his photos to raise awareness and funds for important social issues. In 2013, working with the Saint John Human Development Council, Donovan created a photo series focusing on the issue of youth homelessness in the city. The project not only raised awareness, but also assisted in fund raising for Safe Harbour Shelter for Youth, which is currently under construction. This summer Donovan held another exhibition in partnership with the Council to raise Chris Donovan’s On the Edge appeared in the National Art Gallery this summer. awareness on another social issue — substandard housing. The show was held in August in Brunswick Square. “Substandard housing is an important issue in many cities, especially Saint John. I hope my work will help bring more attention to this problem,” he says. In addition to his work with the Human Development Council, Donovan established the Humans of Saint John Facebook page in 2013. The page, inspired by a conversation he had with a local man while working at the Saint John Jewish Museum, now has over 11,000 followers. “He came up to me and asked if he could tell me a story,” says Donovan. “He said that two Jewish doctors in Saint John had helped him on separate occasions in his life. At the time he was 58, diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. He told me he had wanted to share this story for a long time but could never find someone who would truly appreciate it.” His was the first story on Humans of Saint John. “I found out shortly after that the man had passed away,” Donovan says. “His family contacted me to let me know and thanked me for taking the time to talk with him.” In addition to his creative work and studies, Donovan also works as a photographer and production assistant for the Argosy, and was previously the student newspaper’s photo editor. He has been an intern with the Kings County Record and has had his photography featured on the front page of the TelegraphJournal, New Brunswick’s daily provincial newspaper. Humans of Saint John Humans of Saint John Substandard Housing photo project /9