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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA
Hidden in Plain Sight
by Jill Brody

Project Statement:

Storytelling is an art. Whether heard around the campfire, read in books, or seen in pictures, we hope to glean from these tales echoes of our own journey.

This story is about the Hutterites of Liberty County, Montana. Reclusive pacifist Christians, they live largely untouched by the outside world. Their colorful anachronistic clothing and the muted earth tones of the surrounding prairie become visually rich metaphors for the contrast of their centuries old communal lives of faith and the increasingly vast, inescapable, individuating technological forces of the 21st Century—forces that are tugging us all, ready or not, into the future.

It is also the story of women whose obedience to the cadences of their patriarchal social order presents us with a kind of cognitive dissonance in this day and age. And yet for the most part they love what they do, partly because they do it together, and partly because in their lives of faith doing the work of the colony, no matter how menial, is a religious obligation. Whether scrubbing the floors, cooking, harvesting, preserving, or doing childcare, they treat each task as though it were a privilege. Which for them it is.

The visible strength of their bonds to one another, and their understanding that they are necessary, is humbling.

I hope that these images keep alive the dialog that we in the outside world need to continue to engage in about the importance of balancing our hard-won individual rights with our own equally important communal obligations.

Artist Bio:

I am a writer and photographer. I was born and raised in New York, attended Antioch College, graduated from the University of Illinois, and have graduate degrees from Adelphi University, Harvard Divinity School, and the Art Institute of Boston (now LUCAD). I have worked both in-house and freelance as a general marketing, technical, annual report, and newsletter writer. Throughout, I have also pursued my documentary work, which now includes the book which I wrote and photographed, Drummond: Ranch Life in the West; “Hidden In Plain Sight: Photographing The Hutterites of Liberty County, Montana,” a large traveling show which includes a catalog I helped to put together, and Living in the Wind, a forthcoming book about life in the Northern Great Plains, For my visual work I was selected as a fellow at the Ucross Foundation in 2012, and won the $1000 Grand Prize at the Pawtucket Foundation in 2015. My work has been collected by the Missoula Art Museum, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and by private collectors throughout the country. I live in Providence, RI.