Eyoälha Baker hit her personal rock bottom four years ago. She was operating an interior design business that she was tired of, she’d recently suffered a break-up and she was feeling despondent.
The Coast Salish & Squamish Nation entrepreneur sold her business of five years, her car, and most of her personal belongings. She hit the road with a few bags, her camera and the desire to get the spark back in her life.
While she travelled, she created a list of items that brought her true happiness, a list that included the goal of creating positivity and being inspired by amazing people. The result is a photo project called 'Jump for Joy!'
“Jumping is a natural response to celebrating, excitement and a passion for life. I think it is beautiful to capture the energy at the peak of that motion,” she said. “It is uplifting both figuratively and physically.”
Baker has now taken almost 300 photos for her series, in over five different countries including Greece, Germany, Mexico, US, and Canada.
She looks for ‘jumpers’ who are creative, passionate, and following their dreams, or trying to make the world a better place.
Recently, she took photos of Amalia Liapis. Liapas owns a commercial building in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, and is also the founder of Murality, a not-for-profit organization with the goal of enhancing the lives of the people and the neighbourhood through public art.
Now, Liapis and Baker are teaming up to to create beauty in an area that many think of as desolate, and full of despair.
Nine thousand square feet of Liapis’ building on East Pender Street will be covered with a giant mural featuring 100 images of Vancouverites jumping for joy.
“I’ve been working on [Jump for Joy] with no budget, I’ve been a gypsy, staying with people, house sitting, doing odd jobs here and there to pay the bills, and sometimes I’m flat broke... but I always find a way to make it work,” Baker said.
“All the hard work, the sacrifices and determination is finally coming to fruition.”
Her ultimate goal, after the mural is complete, is to create a photo book full of images of over 1,000 people jumping for joy, from around the world.