Jamie Stevenson


Born 1999, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

I grew up in Canada’s largest first nations community located in the Northwest Territories, formerly known as Rae-Edzo, it is now referred to as Behchoko, which means “Big Knife” in the Tlicho Language. I’ve lived in Behchoko a majority of my life. My mother’s family is from Behchoko and my father’s family is from Hay River, NT. I have 3 siblings, one older sister and two brothers. I have always told myself that I should do what makes me happy, and that's exactly what I did when I pursued photography. Growing up, I knew I always wanted to be involved in the arts in some way, although I thought I was going to be a famous painter, the universe had other plans for me. All throughout high school I struggled immensely with my mental health. I didn’t know how to express my emotions, so I bottled them up. This is where I fell into a ‘deep black hole’ and I didn’t know if I was ever going to get out. I almost commited suicide at the age of 15. I was in grade 9. I was a ‘perfectly healthy’ teenager, I had tons of friends, I was involved in school sports and I strived to achieve good grades. You would have never thought that this could happen to someone who was so ‘happy.’ I grew up in an environment where I was never shown affection or had any emotional support, so that took a big toll on my mental health. Soon after that experience, I fell into a deep depression, I became a negative and soul sucking individual. I had no motivation to continue on with my life until I discovered the artform of photography, this gave me an outlet to fully express myself and for the first time, I saw a light at the end of this ‘deep black hole.’ I felt as if my life was saved. Today, I’m a self-taught photographer and business owner. Jamie Stevenson Photography was established in April of 2018 at 18 years old. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and because of all that I went through when I was younger, I could truly appreciate everything that I have today. Being a photographer has brought so many incredible opportunities into my life and I have met so many incredible people along the way. My work has always been inspired by people, I have always felt that a portrait could tell someone's whole story; the authenticity and rawest form of photography to me has always been portraiture photography. As I continue to grow in all aspects of my life, I will always remember why I started.

This is a portrait of a beautiful Tlicho elder photographed by Jamie Stevenson. Photographed in front of the Behchoko Culture Centre at a community event on National Indigenous Day in 2019.