A hobby photographer from New Westminster, B.C., is getting international attention for the beautiful photos of Vancouver he posts to his Instagram feed.
Doug Dorsett, known as "akaalec" on Instagram, was named in a list of Urban Instagram Photographers You Should Follow by the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. in April. Since then, his number of followers has spiked.
“That was a shocker. When I first heard from them, I was quite taken aback,” Dorsett told the CBC.
“I didn’t put it into perspective until I saw the article come out and ... it really hit me that it was something special.”
Dorsett took art in high school. After college, he travelled to Paris, and fell in love with the paintings and photographs he saw.
“I was moved by the romance of the city," said Dorsett, who wanted to paint like the Impressionists, but knew he wasn't a talented painter. So he started taking photographs instead.
“There was a famous photo by Robert Doisneau called The Kiss and that’s what really got me into black and white... So I found that very spot where he took the photo and did my own rendition of it.“
But soon, Doug had children and a full-time job in a laboratory in British Columbia. He stopped taking photos.
“I’d go to galleries and see photographers, but I was just so busy with the day-to-day stuff and running around with kids and their activities. They were the priority, so you just put all that stuff aside.”
Dorsett didn't start snapping away again until his daughters were older and they went travelling as a family to San Francisco.
“It really inspired me again to just start taking pictures and with the new digital technology, you’re able to take as many pictures as you want."
Dorsett would get up early and walk through the city, snapping photos along the way. Then his 16-year-old daughter Carter had an idea.
“She knew I loved photography and said I should go to Instagram. She opened up the account for me, helped me set up how to tag photos.
“From there, it was quickly picked up by different hubs in Instagram, and they helped me promote my work and learn different shots and different techniques also.”
'New eyes' on Vancouver
Doug thrives on the immediate response and captive audience he gets through his Instagram feed.
It has given him a new insight on New Westminster and Vancouver.
He wanders to areas he has never visited before and tries to see his hometown like a tourist.
“I looked at Vancouver through new eyes and realized how beautiful it was... It is an amazing city and the more I looked in the city to take pictures, the more I realized there are different parts of the city that I never knew before.”
Dorsett says he has always liked architecture and loves the energy a city provides, something he tries to capture in his photographs.
“If I can get a combination of humans and their architecture, or a contradiction of nature and brick, together, when I look at it, it pleases myself.”
Dorsett's children support his hobby and are always pushing him to push himself. This is true even on his birthday, when as a member of the Dorsett family, he is expected to set himself goals for the coming year.
This year, Dorsett's youngest daughter encouraged him to get away from goals about work or family life.
“They’re super proud and they’ve actually inspired me to take it a little more seriously and get out there....Every weekend I’m out, early in the morning, taking photos.”
Dorsett said his goal would be to get his photographs on a public wall somewhere, so even more people can see them.
His daughter has challenged him to make it happen.
See more of Doug Dorsett's photographs below or go to Instagram: akaalec