Photographer captures faces of Chilliwack teachers

Laura Bridge, Evans elementary. - Sarah Sovereign Photography
Laura Bridge, Evans elementary.
— image credit: Sarah Sovereign Photography

Sarah Sovereign approached the current feud between B.C. teachers and B.C. government with two tools: her camera, and her positivity.

“I was hearing and reading a lot of different comments about teachers and it just didn’t mesh with what I know about teachers,” she says.

As a professional photographer, she wanted to bend her skills towards helping what she sees as a good cause. Seeing a wave of negative comments online cinched the deal: she decided to photograph portraits of local teachers to put a face on the strike.

She posted a Facebook status looking for volunteers “literally within 30 seconds of having the idea,” and the rest fell into place.

“From that moment on it’s really spiralled,” Sovereign says. “It’s grown so much. I’ve just had people volunteering left right and centre.”

She says some days she’ll show up to photograph a single teacher, and end up shooting portraits of the entire staff.

She has more than 50 portraits online to date, and has photographed at least one teacher per day since the project began. She doesn’t have an end-date in mind for the project, and hopes to photograph as many teachers as possible.

“I think there are 40,000 teachers in B.C. but I don’t know that I can do that many,” she says wryly.

She’s had an overwhelming positive response, from teachers to students to social media commenters.

“I wanted to bring the focus back on the fact that teachers are part of our community,” Sovereign says. “I started photographing teachers because I wanted to put a face back on the issue, [and] I wanted people to take a look at the issues that are facing education.”

• Sovereign posts the photos to her Facebook page at, and she welcomes teachers to get in touch with her to book a portrait time in the coming weeks.

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