Hi, I'm Kelly Hofer. A visual content producer in Calgary, Alberta.
I started my life as a Hutterite photographer and artist. I now work in the mediums of Photography, Film, Wearable Tech, Electrical Engineering, Graphic Design, and other experimental art forms. My creative process is bringing two traditionally unmarried concepts together. The technics of electronics + fashion + cinemagraphs + unexplored perspectives + programming + compelling light.
Because I do what makes me happy.
My short story
To this day I’m still unsure how I became a photographer. I grew up on a Hutterite colony in Manitoba where I was the only photographer in a culture that is not supportive of photography. There were “outsiders” such as William Albert Allard from National Geographic, Laura Wilson, George Webber and other news Photojournalists, who photographed my culture, but none were Hutterite.
My first jobs, starting around the age of 8, were far removed from the art of photography. At different times I was a gardener's helper, fine woodworker, apprentice automotive electrical engineer and finally a CNC waterjet operator. We built fire trucks on my colony, a notable fact considering we are traditionally farmers.
My first experience with photography was a point-and-shoot camera my mother used to document construction on the colony, and sneaking off to the near-by river valley to experiment. I was 10 and loved every minute.
I could not afford a quality camera of my own, but thanks to my wonderful sister Denise and close friend Ken Yuel and their extremely generous gifts–SLR cameras–I was able to learn the technical side of photography. Much of the lighting equipment and accessories I needed, I made myself. I learned by trial and error through research on the internet.
At the age of 19 I made the difficult decision to leave my home on the colony. As a result, I have acquired the title Ex-Hutterite, a title I proudly carry, for there is much about my culture that I love. Growing up on a colony immersed me in a rich cultural upbringing, a sense of purpose, a strong work ethic and many other qualities, which I treasure.
Being a photographer in a culture in which many older, respected members struggled to accept cameras and having their photos taken, created tension. I wanted to pursue my passion, and found it difficult in light of so many obstacles. Creating scenes and finding good photos was therefore difficult and this experience improved my photography skills immensely.
I am now much more capable of taking what is presented and creating better photos. Beautiful shots are easy when the light is magical. However, when taking photos in areas such as hotel conference rooms and large gymnasiums, my strengths–light manipulation, documentary style photography and creating extraordinary art depicting ordinary people and places–are great assets.
My first exhibition was at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2011, at the age of 19. I then had the opportunity to be part of the "Six Shooters" exhibition at 8th Avenue Place in Calgary.
BBC DOCUMENTARY ON HUTTERITES
A glimpse of my life as a Hutterite.
Interview with Alexander Kim on CJSW