Live Through This: Photographs by Tony Fouhse
Curated by Robert Evans
14 January – 17 March 2013
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Working primarily in the genre of portraiture, the Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse encounters a wide range of people through the course of his work, including drug addicts in Ottawa’s Lowertown, who he has been photographing since 2007. In June of 2010, Fouhse met Stephanie MacDonald, a heroin addict, and after getting to know her, asked if there was something that he could do to help. Stephanie said she needed help to get into rehab.
Some months later they began a harrowing journey, captured in a sequence of photographs Fouhse selected from the thousands he took of Stephanie as she struggled to get clean. His images of MacDonald are both banal and extraordinary, conveying grim aspects of her drug addiction and the steps she took to alter her life’s course. In Tony’s photographs, Stephanie doesn’t share space with much of anything or anyone. The narrative of her struggle is told through her expressive personality and her body: the addicted body, the rebelling body, and, finally, the recovering body. But it is obvious from her handwritten notes and other texts in the gallery that despite the images’ focus on Stephanie, this was not a solitary journey. The two protagonists of this story are present in every frame: Stephanie as subject and Tony as recorder and advocate. Live Through This became a life-changing project for Fouhse and MacDonald as they challenged and learned from one another.
Tony Fouhse has been producing commercial, editorial, and art photography for thirty years. He was the recipient in 2010 of the City of Ottawa’s Karsh Award, in recognition of his outstanding work in photography. His recent exhibition User was shown in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and New York. Fouhse’s work is held in the National Photo Collection of Belgium, Canada Council Art Bank, Archives of Ontario, City of Ottawa, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa Art Gallery, and private collections.