Desirée Patterson at a climate change protest in September. Courtesy Desirée Patterson

Artist takes on activism through photography

Desirée Patterson is showing her environmental-inspired photos during the Eastside Culture Crawl.

Exploring the natural beauty of British Columbia is something Desirée Patterson has always enjoyed.

But she never expected her love of travelling the province to turn into a thriving career.

Patterson, who grew up in Langley, is a professional contemporary photographer based out of a studio in East Vancouver.

From Nov. 15 to 18, Patterson’s studio at 224-1000 Parker St., Vancouver, will be featured in the 2018 Eastside Culture Crawl.

Patterson was four years old when she began taking photos with her grandma.

“My grandmother and I, whenever she gave me a camera to play with, we’d be on walks in the forest or with her camera club, so it was all about engaging in nature and being in places and documenting things.”

Her passion for art and the environment creates the basis of her work—to inspire others to protect and preserve the Earth.

“In 2015, I transitioned my focus to one of advocacy and environmentalism. I had this burning desire in my heart to make work that was important to me but I was petrified to make it.”

Patterson has been taking photos professionally for the past 12 years, but it was just a few years ago that she set her focus on creating “thought-provoking” art that resonates with her own lifestyle choices.

READ MORE: Photographer captures climate change in new series

Throughout her young adulthood, Patterson has travelled in 37 countries and lived and worked in Whistler. It was during these explorations that her photography shifted to an environmental focus.

“I’m super dedicated to raising awareness on two issues: climate change and ocean plastics — the two biggest threats I feel compelled to spread awareness (about) … to try and make a difference.”

Sustainable living fills every hour of Patterson’s life, whether it’s through art or practice.

Patterson said she strives to live sustainably as a minimalist whether it’s limiting how much she uses a car, to eating a vegetarian diet.

This past August, she attended Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Training, a three-day session on how to empower and educate citizens about a sustainable future.

“To witness Al Gore in person — he’s my hero — it was an extremely powerful experience.”

When she’s not creating art, Patterson is constantly engaged in public presentations, artist talks, blog-writing and engaging with the community about environmentalism.

Some of Patterson’s work has been exhibited internationally in California, New York, Los Angelas and London, England.

“I never really clock out,” she said. “It’s a big commitment and a challenging one for sure.”

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