Turn the lens on renting! We lent them cameras. Here are their stories

CBC Calgary set out to turn the lens on renting. We signed up 10 Calgary renters — from across the city — lent them cameras and here are their stories.

Where do you feel you belong? Do you like moving or dream of settling down?

A woman takes a picture of herself in a mirror.
Renting in Mission, Hannah Hahn. (Submitted by Hannah Hahn)

Hey Calgary! Did you know more than a quarter of us are renting at any one time?

Yep. That's why CBC Calgary set out to turn the lens on renting. We signed up 10 Calgary residents who rent — from all across the city —  lent them cameras and gathered every two weeks to share the stories and photos.

Is their story similar to yours?

Part 1: 'Just renting' — Calgarians who rent share thoughts on belonging

Part 2: Not stagnant. Nope. Calgary renters are constantly on the move

Watch for more personal photo stories throughout the fall!

A collage of three photos — a woman reflected in an outside window, a man returning home late at night with eggs and a man standing in front of his house stretching.
Left to right: CBC community photographers Dee-Ann Chibry, Ivan Limas and Joshua Lafleur. (Submitted by participants)

Catch the photos in person

Memorial Park Library, Calgary Public Library

Photo installation on site from Jan. 4 to Jan. 23

Central Library, Calgary Public Library

Photo installation on site on Jan. 23 to Feb. 6

Thanks also to previous hosts — Calgary Transit (Marlborough station), YMCA (Brookfield Residential in Seton), Westbrook Mall and the Genesis Centre!

Turn the Lens on Renting

1 year ago
Duration 1:19
Featured VideoWe worked with 10 Calgary residents who rent — from all across the city — to capture their renting experiences as they fit. See the photos in person at the Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton now through Oct. 31, then head to the Genesis Centre in November. Learn more:
Five selfies or photos taken with the camera on a timer, including one where a man is cleaning a new baby change table and another where a senior is taking a photo of his reflection in the window of an oven.
Top to bottom: CBC Calgary community photographers Roman Rabbit, Brody Wallin, Tanmay Godara, Lorne Rice and Claudia Weis. (Submitted by the participants)

Tell us your story

This specific photo project is over. But we're going to keep writing about renting and housing in Calgary and we want your insight!

If you rent or own, especially on a tight budget, what do you think we should write about next?

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About the project

Community photographers? That's right. At CBC Calgary, we want to support community members to tell their own stories, and we're experimenting with many different ways to do that.

At these photography workshops, we hired community members to document their lives and gave training with photojournalist Ose Irete. We're sharing their stories, and it also gave our newsroom the opportunity to listen more closely to what it's like to rent right now. We'll be using that insight in our ongoing reporting. 

Also? Now we own these cameras and we want to keep putting them to use. If you have an idea for a different topic we should explore together, send an email to producer Elise Stolte at

A woman sits on a couch in front of a bright window sipping a drink.
A self-portrait from Katie Gielen in her living room. (Submitted by Katie Gielen)


Elise Stolte


Elise Stolte has 20 years of experience telling the stories of her community and has been recognized for feature writing, social-impact and community-based journalism. Today she works as an editor and bridge to help communities tell their own stories with the newsroom. You can reach her at