Kelly Hofer's loving photos of the Hutterite home he left behind

Photographer Kelly Hofer describes how he used art and technology to break through barriers on the Hutterite colony he grew up on.
Calgary photographer Kelly Hofer spent his youth photographing his former home and loved ones in Manitoba's Hutterite community. (Kelly Hofer)

While the rest of his family was having breakfast, photographer Kelly Hofer quietly escaped the only home he'd ever known. He was only 19.

Hofer grew up in a Hutterite colony in rural Manitoba — a tight-knit, religious community dimly understood by outsiders. As a teen he grappled with loneliness and struggled with his sexuality, eventually deciding to start over in Calgary.

The now openly-gay artist joins Shad to share how photography became his way to connect, and how he feels about his fond images of the place he once called home. 

See a sample of Hofer's stunning photographs, posted here with permission of the artist,  alongside excerpts from our interview.  Hofer is set to publish a book of images built of the shots he snapped as a defiant teenager. 

"Everyone has this laissez-faire attitude to life. There's nothing to worry about from day to day."

"In my early years it was more me spending a lot of time alone shooting photos of nature. As I moved on I was shooting more and more people and the camera just became part of my everyday life...There was no staging."

"I feel like it stemmed from me always feeling like the outsider, feeling like I didn't really belong in the way everyone else did."

WEB EXTRA│As mentioned on air, Queer Hutterite is a short documentary about Hofer's life and his abrupt departure from his birthplace. Watch it below. 


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