FH&A opens new storefront at The Forks
Jen Doerksen, BEAT REPORTER
Local photography collective From Here and Away (FH&A) opened their first storefront at The Forks to foster collaboration within Winnipeg’s creative communities two weekends ago. On Saturday, March 4, people filled The Forks’ upstairs market after 6 p.m. for the first time.
Jacqueline Funk received a DSLR camera around Christmas, and got involved with FH&A then.
“I came to a couple of workshops and found Joey and Adam, and they’re just great. They’re extremely helpful, answer all my questions, and they’re easy to talk to,” Funk said.
She said she was excited about the space because it can help her learn.
“For me this is somewhere I can come and know I’m always welcome. There will always be advice, and I don’t have to feel judged for what I don’t know,” she said. “I definitely had to come down and support the opening of the space tonight.”
FH&A has been running photography excursions and workshops for the past year or so. Having a space means running more workshops with less planning.
For Ally Gonzalo, the space is helping him feel a sense of community.
“I only moved to Canada eight months ago. I thought one way to immerse myself in the photography community here in Winnipeg is through social media, like Instagram,” he said. “That’s how I met Joey, and I’ve had several photo assignments where I photograph From Here and Away’s events.”
Gonzalo moved to Winnipeg from the Philippines. He said the space reminded him of home.
“It’s very tropical looking, compared to like outside of The Forks, and I like that because I get homesick a lot. So finding something that I can connect to and feel like I’m home in, it makes me feel really good,” he said.
Gonzalo is one of many who like to participate in the FH&A community.
FH&A founder Joseph Visser said he hopes to host a variety of artforms while they have the space.
“I really want From Here and Away to start branching out to other artforms, and I’m slowly bringing people on board who can speak to different mediums,” Visser said.
This past Saturday, musicians Okay Mann, Mitchell Schimnowski, and Fontine performed at the space. It was the first time The Forks used an upstairs market space for live entertainment, and Visser hopes it won’t be the last.
“It seems complicated, but it’s simple. We’re a clothing brand and an art collective, and we’re more about encouraging people to tap into their creative impulses than we are about selling clothes,” Visser said.
Visser also hopes to host different galleries that can mix work from all levels of photographers.
“I feel like anyone can be in a From Here and Away gallery. The reason I think our workshops are valuable are because you get such a mix — we’ll get someone who bought their camera yesterday, and we’ll get someone who has been shooting professionally for 10 years,” Visser said. “That could be replicated on the walls of this space.”
“What we would like to do is break down hierarchies between very established artists and people who produce good work who maybe aren’t established and level the playing field,” he added.
FH&A started as a hashtag on Instagram for people to share their adventures with. The hashtag currently has over 70,000 posts, and some of the top posts are from places like Guatemala, Grand Beach, Stevens Pass, and the Philippines.
So far, The Forks plans to host FH&A until April 1. There is a possibility FH&A will stay for longer, though.