Paroled lifers get a chance to reflect on their lives, past and present, thanks to a photography exhibit at King's University in Edmonton.

Accompanying each portrait in the exhibit, entitled Life², is a brief text written by the parolee pictured.

The commentaries by the seven parolees, each photographed by a different photographer, illustrate the loneliness, the gratitude, the regret and the understanding each parolee experiences when reflecting on their past, according to King's website.

"Unfortunately these human beings, including myself, messed up one time, most of us very badly," one of the subjects, who asked only to be identified as Daryl to protect his family from embarrassment, told CBC News.

Sentenced to life imprisonment on his 19th birthday 40 years ago for killing a man in a fight, Daryl served about 10 years before gaining his release.

He agreed to be photographed to show the work he does today with other lifers and victims.

"Its not an easy road," he said. "It's not an easy road to coming back out here."

'It's not an easy road to coming back out here.' - Daryl, parolee

Daryl, like the other subjects, was vetted to determine his desire to reform his life. It's a journey the curator of the exhibit, filmmaker Mark Power, wanted to help them with.

Power came up with the idea of the exhibition after seeing first-hand through volunteer work the struggles parolees face.

"I thought, 'What could I do to overthrow some of the stigma and judgment that goes along with the terms ex-convict and felon,' Power recalled. "What I came up with was trying to see these people for who they really are, not the mugshot they have to carry around."

Any money raised through through the exhibit will go into a scholarship fund for parolees in Edmonton.

"I think its in everybody's best interests that parolees succeed," Power said. "Even economically it's better that they're contributing to society rather than us paying for them to remain in prison."

As far as Daryl is concerned, he wants people to take away the simple story of who he is now from the exhibit: "An old man who's nothing more than a grandfather, not a feller who is a lifer serving a life sentence on parole."

The exhibition runs through May 3, 2014.

With files from Gareth Hampshire