Hometown Glory

There’s something vaguely anachronistic about Shane Terry’s Instagram page, @shaneterryfoto. Scrolling through the Toronto-based photographer’s feed is like peering into a photo album from a family holiday of your childhood, replete with the warm grain of 35mm film and flat planes of high-saturation colour.

Shane, who holds a BA in English from the University of Toronto, is a master of suggestion: in one photo, yellow-tinted lights glow warmly through a bay of windows; in another, netting is strung, improbably, between the lock of a front door and an object out of frame. People scarcely appear in Shane’s images, and when they do it is only from a distance, or with their backs turned, populating the landscape like motion-blur figures in an architectural render.

In the days of hero-image architectural representation, Shane’s work is endearingly, almost determinedly banal. A favoured subject is his hometown of Smiths Falls in Ontario, a blue-collar, working class town that has since been outmoded by globalisation. “The town is in rough shape,” Shane says, “and I feel compelled to photograph as much of it as I can.” The resulting images demonstrate Shane’s knack for finding the intrigue in the quotidian, be this in the form of material selection, colour palettes or composition. The emptiness of the streets and spaces conjures feelings of loss and hope in equal measures, alternately suggesting a recent departure and imminent return of the town’s occupants.

Without the indicators of cars, clothing, or landmarks, Shane’s photographs could have been taken anywhere, at any time. The same approach which he captures his hometown is extended to other subject sites dotted through Toronto and Southern Ontario. Sparingly captioned with only the date of their capture, the strength of his images lies in their ability to tap into the universal memories of spaces that pervade across time and culture.

We all know the particular beauty of small towns passed through between major cities. We also know the feeling of arriving, drowsy, in their hometown at the end of the holiday, comforted by the familiar and deserted streets where the lights are on, and everyone is home. And if for any reason you can’t recall any of these, a peek at Shane’s photo feed will help you remember.

–All images courtesy of Shane Terry

–To see more of his work, click here