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Colin Boyd Shafer

Colin is a photographer who focuses on documentary projects and street photography. He is currently working on a yearlong crowdfunded project called Cosmopolis Toronto, featured on Global National News, in the Toronto Star, and The Huffington Post.

His photographs have won numerous competitions, the most recent being the 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival’s Photography Competition in London, UK. His work has been featured on the cover of Asian Photography and F-Stop Magazines as well as international publications like Salon, The New Internationalist, Foto8, and BBC News. His first book, Di Antara (2013), is available online and features his photographs and written contributions from some of Malaysia’s most influential figures.

Artistic Statement

My photography is primarily documentary and I feel most comfortable doing portraiture. I ask my subjects to avoid smiling, so that the viewer can get to know them and contemplate the photograph instead of focusing on their posed smile. Through storytelling, I like to bring about discussions of interconnection, shared humanity, and the diversity within diversity.

I am currently working on Cosmopolis Toronto, where I am trying to photograph someone born in every country of the world who now calls Toronto home. For each person participating in the project, I have taken a portrait of them in a place where they feel comfortable and ‘at home’ in the GTA, as well as another photograph featuring them holding an item they feel connects them to their place of birth. These two photographs are paired with a short story and mapped an my interactive website.



Artist Website


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