Culture Snap: Photographing Vibrant Cultural Expression
Henry VanderSpek is an art and documentary photographer based out of Toronto, Ontario and the owner of Culture Snap. Henry has worked for non-profit organizations for over 15 years, both in Canada and overseas, to document their work. He captures dynamic images that celebrate the life and atmosphere of any city he finds himself in. He especially enjoys capturing scenes with bicycles and has been shooting in film for the past 4 years.
Henry’s work has been featured in numerous digital and print publications, recognized by a number of awards, and one of his images was even prominently featured in the final episode of Kim’s Convenience (season 5, episode 13).
Culture Snap was started in 2012, shortly after Henry began his role as a stay-at-home dad. Shop Culture Snap, the online store for Henry’s photography, was created as a response to the pandemic.
Usually, Henry participates in 8-10 art shows a year, where he would show and sell his art in person. It was disappointing for Henry not to connect with people through conversation and personal interaction after the in-person shows were cancelled due to COVID-19. He loves to meet interesting people and hear great stories about their lives in Toronto, or the places he’s captured in his photography. However, Henry notes it has been encouraging to have a website to show and sell his products online.
Shop Culture Snap offers pillowcases, tote bags, carry-all bags, and wood block prints featuring Henry’s unique photography. He hopes his products provide lasting enjoyment, whether they start a conversation while you’re out and about with a fun tote bag, or add colour to any room with a pillow or print. Each item in the store is made in Canada with quality materials and craftsmanship. As the holiday season approaches, all of his products are great to consider as a gift for a loved one or friend with an appreciation for photography.
Henry created his online store with the help of the ShopHERE powered by Google program, aiming to help in the absence of local markets that he’d normally participate in. He loves the look of the website and how easy it is to navigate.
At first, it took Henry some time to get familiar with the settings and prepare his product listings and other site details. Even still, he found the process straightforward and his eCommerce Coordinator was there to answer any questions.
“It is so helpful in allowing artists and small businesses to sell their work or products online. I am very thankful for ShopHERE.”
Since creating a website with the ShopHERE program, more people have learned about Henry’s work and he’s made some sales. He is proud of the professional-looking site that he now has.
Henry’s advice to other small businesses is to keep up regular communication with your customers through email and social media and provide special offers and events so customers can stay engaged with your brand.
You can order Henry’s photo products online or for local delivery in Toronto at his website www.shopculturesnap.ca
If you want your own website for your small business or art business, you can sign up for the ShopHERE powered by Google program here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.