Anthropology grad follows passion for film, photography and helping others

- Anne MacLaurin

Devin Tepleski, who willo receive his BA at Fall Convocation, is making his mark on the world through documentary film and photography: two things he is very passionate about. He started taking classes in anthropology and visual arts at UVic after a year of backpacking from Berlin to Istanbul. He chose anthropology because, as he says, “I wanted to understand how the social world works, and how I fit into it.”

Through UVic’s  Co-op program and International Exchange program, Tepleski was able to combine education and further travels. On a co-op term as an assistant archaeologist with Parks Canada, Tepleski had the opportunity to work at Prince of Wales Fort near Churchill, MB, the northernmost stone fortress in the world, where beluga whales followed his boat as he crossed the Churchill River every day. On exchange, he moved to Denmark to study documentary filmmaking and qualitative methodology at the University of Copenhagen. Tepleski pursued visual anthropology classes at UVic and was invited to work as a documentarian and archaeologist in Ghana.

During his time in Ghana, Tepleski photographed and filmed many of the villagers being displaced by the hydroelectric dam that is being constructed in the Banda area of Ghana. His “Sena” exhibit won the International Photography Award Amateur Portrait Photographer of the Year (2010) and has been profiled in TIME Magazine, and his short film “Mango Driftwood” is being screened in a session at the annual American Anthropological Association meetings in Montreal next month. Prints of the “Sena” exhibit are still available at Luz Gallery in Oak Bay or Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York. All proceeds after costs go to Friends of Bui.

“The first people I would like to thank are my parents and grandparents, who have been really supportive, not only helping out financially when I was eating nothing but rice and lentils, but in every other way imaginable,” says Tepleski.

Tepleski grew up in Selkirk, MB, and Cowichan Bay, BC, and has made Victoria home for the past seven years. He hopes to keep doing documentary film work and freelancing, but would love something more long-term in one of his bases: Victoria, Vancouver or New York.  He recently did some work as a community consultant for the Fort McKay First Nation about the future expansion of oil sands development in their traditional territories. According to Tepleski the project was “right up my alley” and he hopes to do similar future projects. This month he will graduate with a BA degree in anthropology from the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Vitis Tepleski's website at

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Keywords: anthropology, arts, student life

People: Devin Tepleski

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