In the World but Not of It, is an exhibition featuring the lived experience of six Hutterite colonies across the Canadian Prairies. Tim Smith, a photojournalist based in Brandon, Manitoba, has been building deep relationships with the colonies over the past fourteen years. Having captured thousands of images, he has intimately documented the daily lives of communities whose culture has been preserved through deliberate separation from mainstream society and economic self-sufficiency. Smith explains, “My work focuses on breaking down stereotypes of Hutterites and challenges simplistic, reductionist ideas about who the Hutterites are.” This extensive documentation visually describes the strength and beauty of their day-to-day: children jumping in lakes, freshly baked bread, golden canola fields, loving embraces, fishing at dusk, and fall harvest.
The forty-one images featured in the exhibition detail various bonds between colony members: groups of women; humans and animals; men and children; youth; and mothers and daughters. The image titled Garden Mist, for example, speaks to an allied approach to colony livelihood, as the support members provide for one another is integral to the colony’s independent successes. Smith captures this idea through a visual narrative that describes the importance of family life, social life and spirituality within the Hutterite communities. “My goal,” he explains, “has been to produce a body of work that sheds light on a group of people who are either unknown or misunderstood by the majority of mainstream society in hopes that in this work, viewers will see connections to their own lives and experiences.”
About the Artist
Tim Smith is a documentary photographer based in Brandon, Manitoba. His work explores the connection between the people that inhabit the prairies and the landscape around them. For the past fourteen years Smith has been documenting the Hutterites, insular anabaptist Christians who live communally on colonies dotting throughout western Canada and the north-western United States. The project aims to dispel myths and stereotypes about their communities and show the breadth and complexity of their society. It also provides a document of how colonies are navigating changes to their way of life while holding on to key traditions.
Smith’s work is amongst the broadest and most extensive visual documentations of the Hutterites ever produced. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide and exhibited in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia and the United States. Smith was the 2022 Donggang Photo Festival Artist of the Year and recently exhibited and spoke at the 2023 Xposure International Photo Festival. In addition to long-term documentary work Smith is a passionate speaker on topics relating to slow journalism, photographing sensitive communities or subjects, mental health in journalism and the heartbreak and joy of being invited into people's lives. Portions of his work from the prairies and the Hutterites are part of the Province of Manitoba's art collection as well as the permanent display at the Múzeum habánov v Sobotišti in Slovakia.