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In Pictures: A look back at the year in photos on Canada's West Coast Add to ...

The Globe and Mail’s award-winning photographer John Lehmann has travelled the world during the past 11 years he’s worked for the paper, but says British Columbia remains one of the most diverse and interesting places in which to shoot. He sat down with reporter Steven Chua to discuss the year in pictures.

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A key difference between many of this year’s shots and last year is that many of my pictures in 2011 were based around event-driven news. This year, many of the stories I shot were based around individuals or communities. It allowed me to get back to my passion for documentary photography.

A lot of the time I just have an idea of something I want to know more about, and think if I want to know more about it, then maybe readers would be interested as well. It’s a different setting — documentary photography is a lot more intimate, and can be a lot more time consuming.

First, you have to find people, and then you have to put in time together. Usually, it starts with an e-mail or phone call that shows you’re interested in what they do. I think anytime you’re willing to talk to someone or photograph them about what it is they are passionate about, they want others to see what they’re in love with.

I think they often view it as a way of communicating with other people how they see themselves. It’s a lot more intimate. You really have to get into these people’s lives. They have to trust you and you have to trust them.

You must be patient and willing to waste a few hours waiting for that defining moment. But being there with that person with that intimacy and intensity will pay off, because you will find opportunities you wouldn’t get by just parachuting in for an hour to cover something.

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