Member of the Month – Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada was born in Medellín but lived his formative years in Bogotá. He explains the differences between the two Colombian cities in ways Colombians would understand. “Medellín and Bogotá have two very different personalities,” he says. “There are always differences, but they manage to co-exist.”

British Columbians would understand this as the manner in which Victoria and Vancouver co-exist: Simply put, one is a government town, one is an industrial centre.

In Bogotá, his parents had a standing of modest wealth and privilege. His mother was an architect; his father, an industrialist. This privilege afforded Posada an enviable education at a local Swiss high school, which, in turn, helped his admission to Javeriana University, where he studied philosophy and law.

In 2002, when politician Álvaro Uribe came to power in Colombia, life changed dramatically for the Posada family. “When Uribe took over, many things got better for the general public, but families like mine were all but forced out,” he says. Whereas the financial elite at the time could afford “their own personal army” for protection, the country became a dangerous place for those citizens who had wealth, just not enough wealth.

“If you were at the financial level we were at, you became a target, and if you became a target, you either figured out a way to protect yourself, or you left.” Posada’s parents chose the latter of those two options.

Jorge arrived in Vancouver 15 years ago with $200. “When I got here, I knew that North America was about work, so I never stopped working. I did what I had to do to survive — getting up at 4 in the morning to take three busses to work the day as a laborer.”

One particularly poignant story he tells is being on a break outside a warehouse where he and a fellow immigrant, a Russian, were eating peanut butter and bananas underneath an elevated container they were unloading. Hungry crows were cawing all around them when, in that instant, it started to snow. “I’d never really seen snow. It was exciting, but I was also a little afraid and kind of in shock.”

Through the early days of his time in Vancouver 15 years ago, Posada missed many aspects of his past life, including photography. “My camera was stolen before I left Colombia. This was a tremendous loss for me. For my first two years in Canada I would see so many things I wanted to shoot, but I couldn’t. I spent a lot of that time learning about light and understanding how I could apply it to my images.”

One day, the magic of serendipity brought Posada to Vancouver photographer Alistair Eagle, who hired the young immigrant as his studio manager. This amazing opportunity came with an amazing perk: Alistair lent his eager protege a digital camera.

If there was one moment when everything changed for Jorge Posada, that was it.

Soon after, he was enrolled at Vancouver Film School where, in 2008, he graduated in the highest standing with a diploma in Entertainment Business Management and was the class valedictorian. Two years later, he was hired by the Swiss team at the Vancouver Olympics to work as an official photographer. “It was then that I knew I could make this my career.”

Today, Posada and business partner Benjamin Samson own and operate Talentosa Productions, a company specializing in commercial photography and video. He is also one-third owner, along with his sister Angela Samson and brother-in-law John Samson, of Dog Taxi, a daycare, training and hotel facility for four-legged friends. The remarkably successful dog business has afforded him the luxury of nurturing and growing Talentosa.

“I always liked the commercial side of photography,” he says. “A hotel needs a photo for a website or an ad or a magazine, that’s an assignment I find exciting and challenging. I understand the business objectives of these images, but they are also very much about art for me.”

And it is art that brings us to Jorge Posada’s tour de force – a stunning photographic installation called Main and 3rd. Today, Main and 3rd hangs as the centrepiece of the Terminal City Club’s freshly minted Members’ Lounge. It is a sweeping, highly conceptual work composed of 200 images that tells the story of Vancouver through the life that came and went through the doors of an old three-storey walk-up apartment building.

“I wanted to create something that everyone in Vancouver could connect with – something whereby we could all see parts of ourselves, parts of our mind, parts of our heart. The Members’ Lounge is the perfect place for this work. This beautiful room they have created has no windows. I like to think of Main and 3rd as being the window to Vancouver. And, if I can say, the reaction I have received from the other members has been so rewarding. It’s made my relationship with this place much deeper, much more meaningful.”

Posada became a TCC member four years ago. “I joined the club to meet people and for mentorship. I have met some amazing people and have had some amazing mentors. It’s also, now, a place I will always bring clients. It has quite a pull.”

—Wayne Moriarty