Anyone who regularly follows this blog on social media will know the name Mark Aspland; he created the gorgeous Yurt Fest video we posted, and his cinematic style has earned him quite the reputation as a videographer here in Iqaluit. Now Mark, who is also my colleague, has a new project called Nunavut Images, a stock photo and video site that will raise funds and awareness for mental health issues in the territory.
"Since moving to Iqaluit, I have heard a lot of stories and seen statistics that are absolutely shocking regarding mental health and the wellness of Nunavummiut," Mark told me when I asked him why he wanted to start the site. "Personally, I have been going through some things that make it hard to get out of bed...but I am fortunate enough to be able to get up. I wanted to do this for the people who simply can’t."
Mark came up with the idea of creating a Nunavut photo site where buyers can purchase high quality images and video at low prices, with all proceeds going to the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline. The site, which is going live today, combines both his camera expertise, interest in social justice, and personal connection to a locally relevant issue. And, of course, he made a beautiful video about it.
Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline
Now in its 25th year of operations, the Helpline started in response to a significant number of suicides in the Baffin region of what was then still the Northwest Territories (learn more about what the Helpline does here). It was called "Kamatsiaqtut," which translates to "thoughtful people who care," and is staffed by trained volunteers. People are encouraged to call if they need someone to talk to about an issue - any issue - and all calls are anonymous. The service is used not only by Nunavummiut, but by residents in Nunavik and Northern diaspora all over Canada. Recently, Kamatsiaqtut began offering 24-hour service, seven days a week. As a non-profit, the Helpline relies heavily on donations and grants in order to provide this important resource for free.
The Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline can be reached by calling one of the following numbers:
1-867-979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333
Nunavut Images: How does it work?
The process is quite simple: users can browse and select photos from the site, enter their credit card information to make a purchase, and the money will be sent to the administrator, who will then make quarterly donations to the Helpline. Here are some details:
- Photos will cost about $10 each. Videos will be priced slightly higher, depending on the length.
- Once the payment is secured, buyers will receive links to the purchased image(s). Clients will have 24 hours to download the image, after which the link will expire.
- Once downloaded, there are no restrictions on photo use: they can be printed, shared, or posted online.
- Photos purchased from Nunavut Images can be used for personal or commercial applications, but cannot be resold.
- Nunavut Images will only provide images of Nunavut (duh).
How can you get involved?
The easiest way to support Nunavut Images and the Helpline is by ordering photos from the site.
Donate your photos
Mark is working very hard to collect content for the site, all of which is done outside of his day job. But in order for this to be truly a site for Nunavut images, he will need some help. Nunavut photographers who are willing to share their captures are encouraged to contact Mark directly to donate their photos to the site. This is a great opportunity for all of you amazing amateur and professional photographers to put your skills to good use!
Share this post
Right now, Nunavut Images is new and unknown, but we can spread the message by sharing this post via social media and email. And let's not forget good old word-of-mouth! Tell your colleagues, parents, cousins, and neighbours down south that there is a new place to purchase Nunavut photos - and make sure you emphasize that this place gives back.
Some final thoughts
On why Mark hopes people will support this project, he stated, "I believe community initiatives work best when an entire community is focused, knows the challenges, and cares personally that positive results are achieved." Mark hopes that his efforts will inspire other people to get involved, just as the Nunavummiut in his life have done for him.
"I would like thank my boss, Tony Romito, for giving me the opportunity to live and work in Iqaluit, and for giving me the ability to carry out projects like this," he said. "Also, thanks to Amélie Pelletier. Through her passion, not only for the beauty of Nunavut, but also the issues that affect those of us who live here, she has inspired me to take a step towards helping others the best way I can."
For more information about mental health research and resources in Nunavut:
Embrace Life Council
Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre
Nunavut Tunngavik: Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society
To learn more about Nunavut Images, please contact Mark via email, or leave a comment below!