Photographer Tim Smith was driving on an August evening when he saw a fleck of movement across a Manitoba field. Children from the Spring Valley Hutterite Colony were skipping along a pyramid of hay bales, playing tag. After asking permission from the colony’s minister, Smith rushed back to take photographs. It had just rained and a rainbow appeared, splayed perfectly across the background of his shot. “It was stunning, and frankly, the photo doesn’t do it justice. You can never plan for or predict these moments. But if you put yourself in the position for them to happen, sometimes you get lucky,” he says. Smith has spent 16 years capturing moments like these across the Prairies. His mission is to chronicle an underrepresented part of the country and the diversity of rural life, from First Nations communities to the Hutterite colonies.
"Summer in western Manitoba is brief and beautiful, but just long enough to wash away our collective memories of the brutal winter behind us and the impending cold to come. There is an urgency to summer on the prairies. You're obligated to make the most of it and I try to do that photographically. Also I think there is a perception that there isn't a lot going on in our wide open spaces,” says Smith. “I like that I have to put work in to find the beauty and the interesting narratives being played out. They don't necessarily present themselves to everyone, just those willing to look hard enough."