LIVING
07/28/2015 03:50 EDT | Updated 07/28/2015 05:59 EDT

The Hello Project Captures The Beauty Of How Similar Canada Can Be

"My goal is to have one Hello each day of this calendar year."

Spencer Wynn

It's a red and white sticker that simply says a person's name, but photographer Spencer Wynn sees something completely different.

The Toronto-based freelance photographer, who was formerly the deputy art director for the Toronto Star, is using his visual talents to profile and shoot Canadians (and dogs) of all walks of life. He calls his venture "The Hello Project."

"It always amazes me that nobody acknowledges anyone on the streets. Nobody ever nods or says, 'hello,'" he tells The Huffington Post Canada. "Everyone is so absorbed in their mobile devices as they walk. This is a fun way to poke a stick at those mobile walkers and make the world seem a little smaller by the simple act of saying 'hello.'"

Wynn began his project in the summer of 2014 when he was in Mongolia and started posting pictures of his subjects in January of this year. He told himself he would launch a year-long documentary project, giving strangers a "Hello, my name is..." tag and having them share their stories about visiting or living in the Great White North.

"I tell [strangers], they are a part of a year-long portrait project and will be one of many. Almost everyone says yes. A few say no, but that's the exception," he says.

When he meets his subjects, Wynn typically asks them where they were born, what their days are like, what gives them passion and a fun fact which often ends up being an interesting side story. To date, he has photographed 202 people, from moms to skaters to non-Canadians, like athletes from Guyana visiting Toronto for the Pan American Games.

"My goal is to have one Hello each day of this calendar year."

It takes Wynn over an hour to work his magic, from taking photos to editing them to writing a detailed story.

"It has been a wonderful experience getting to know total strangers and to feel a connection with them even for a short time. On occasion, I have been honoured by them opening up, sometimes in tears as they speak of deeply personal experiences," he says.

And while he is familiar with the work of other similar photo projects like Humans of New York, Wynn says it didn't inspire him when he first started. For him, it was a way to continue his love for visual journalism and storytelling, something he calls alternative story forms.

Check out some of our favourite shots by Wynn below, including each subject's personal story. You can find his whole collection — and there are plenty to look through — over at the project's Facebook page.