Tim Smith – The Hutterites of Western Canada

Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun

Brandon, Manitoba based Tim Smith is a photojournalist with a distinguished career for one so young. He’s bagged an impressive list of national and international awards for his photography. His tear sheets include some big names, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), and The Globe and Mail. I first became aware of him through his magnetic contributions to Canadian Geographic magazine.

A seminal moment in Tim’s career came when he started as a freelancer for the Edmonton Sun, working alongside highly experienced, award-winning photographers. Under their guidance, he fine-tuned his skills and further developed his style. This eventually led to him taking a staff position with the Brandon Sun. “I knew I was going to a much smaller newspaper but the challenge of producing quality work in a smaller market appealed to me. Knowing that Managing Editor James O’Connor really valued photography cemented my decision to take the job”.

Prairie life is a recurring subject throughout Tim’s work. Hailing from a country with equally vast, open spaces, I share a kindred appreciation. Driving across Manitoba with my wife in 2010, I felt at home under those cobalt blue skies. I gazed across a seemingly boundless, cultivated landscape, flat as a billiard table, while dark and brooding clouds in the distance coalesced into storms, and the connection was made.

Australia’s wheatbelt narrative, while superficially similar, is to the prairies as contradistinctive as the wildlife of these two great lands. My real interest lies not in the parallels, but in the differences. In particular, the contrasting odysseys of the people that have made their mark upon the land. Most intriguing of them are, for me, the Hutterites.

Although Tim’s work is not limited to these folk, I am drawn to his depiction of Hutterite colony existence. He captures the simplicity, honesty and harmony of a peaceful splinter group, who have threaded themselves indelibly into the colourful tapestry of the Canadian story. In Tim’s own words: “My goal is to capture narratives and feelings, not just moments”.

Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun

Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun

Members of Sprucewood Colony look towards the sky while watching the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerial demonstration near Neepawa Airport on Saturday afternoon.  (Tim Smith/Brandon Sun)

Tim Smith/Brandon Sun

Young women from Deerboine Hutterite Colony laugh as they help build a sandbag dike around a home on the south side of Grand Valley Road in the RM of Whitehead on Saturday. Dozens of volunteers came and went throughout the day to help protect the homes from the rising Assiniboine River. (Tim Smith/Brandon Sun)

Tim Smith/Brandon Sun



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