By Helen Lam
Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse’s exhibition SUBURB, the final part of his hometown trilogy, debuts at the Exposure Gallery September 8. His latest series of photographs feature scenes of everyday life in Barrhaven, where residents live, work and play.
The trilogy’s first two parts, User (2011) and Official Ottawa (2015), looked at the city through the eyes of its most powerless and powerful citizens. Tony returns to this theme in SUBURB, except this time, the line between the two sides are a little more blurred. The exhibition brings the audience beyond the cookie cutter image of Barrhaven to the mysteries underneath. It’s a place that always seems to be under construction, but lacks distinguishing features. A place that has a sense of community, but no obvious centre. Tony let the collection take shape over 35 trips to the suburb, without preconceptions and full of the desire to explore. The audience, too, is asked to look at something ordinary and reconsider.
SUBURB is a portal into a slice of modern Canada, a chance to examine the everyday and find something unexpected. Locals that are familiar with Barrhaven will recognize the detached homes, the wide fields and the half-empty parking lots. In a way, the area has long been the domain of urban planners and home developers. Tony’s approach to SUBURB was to get lost in Barrhaven’s less tangible features. There are images of neighbourhoods’ incremental expansion into the natural world, and glimpses of the secrets that may hide behind closed front doors. What’s the power of Barrhaven on Ottawans? Of course, there’s the pull of affordability. But lurking underneath that is also the attraction of ideas about what makes a successful life, of safety and the search for comfort.
Tony Fouhse has been active for over 10 years, exhibiting his work in galleries across Ottawa and in Montreal. He travels across North America exploring people and places through his camera. Whether its suburban Ottawa or rural Mississippi, he looks for the human stories that speak to their time and place. Winner of the Karsh Award for Photography in 2010, Tony’s photos have been featured in TIME Magazine, the New York Times and Esquire Magazine. The Exposure Gallery is a dedicated space to photographers, and has partnered with the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa since 2015 to bring photographic arts to a wider audience. SUBURB promises to be a unique look on the Ottawa life, so drop by and take a peek.
SUBURB starts September 8 at Exposure Gallery (1255 Wellington Street West) with a reception from 6-8pm.