FEATURE: HALLE HIROTA "ETOBIQUEER"
MODELS: Andy Alburger & Matthew Alburger
STYLIST: Andy Alburger
PHOTOGRAPHER: Halle Hirota
When I imagined this project I originally wanted photograph my old neighbourhood in North Etobicoke. When we first moved to our house on Scarlett Road, as a twelve-year old girl it really did feel like the end of the world. I felt that any sense of independence and community I had built was taken away from me considering that I had no friends in this part of town.
I then had the idea to create the series using the perspective of a neighbourhood friend of mine, Andy Alburger, who still currently lives on Scarlett Road. I feel that our experiences have quite a few parallels. I don’t think that our neighbourhood is bad place to live, nor do I think badly of any of the inhabitants, but as young people heavily involved in the arts it was a very isolating place to be. The neighbourhood is extremely Roman-Catholic. There was definitely a strong sense of community, we just weren’t a part of it.
Since Andy has lived on Scarlett for his entire life, I wanted to visit places that held significance to him. We photographed him at his house, his old church, his catholic elementary school, and a park down the street. Andy and his brother Matty attended church every Sunday as well as attended a catholic elementary school close to their house. Andy mentioned that as two gay people it was difficult for him and Matty growing up in a very Catholic environment. They shared a very similar experience in often feeling out of place.
The purpose of these photos is to bring forth the feeling of relief that comes with growing in to your own person and dissociating from a conformitive environment. They are a representation of feeling out of place within your own home. We aimed to translate this through the styling and lighting, using bright colours to try and show off Andy and Matty’s personalities in comparison to an environment they grew up in but don’t consider home.
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