Framed by Frozen Lakes, Richard Johnson’s ‘Ice Huts’ Seize Wintertime Communities in Canada — Colossal

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#Richard Johnson

January 29, 2024

Kate Mothes

“Ice Hut GRID #6” From the Sequence ‘Ice Huts’ (2007-2019). All photographs © Richard Johnson Pictures, Inc., shared with permission

Beginning in late December and January when the temperatures keep constantly under freezing, our bodies of water within the northern United States and Canada start to freeze. Because the ice reaches thicknesses over 4 inches, it turns into protected to stroll on, and at greater than 5 inches, it’s normally protected for snowmobiles. Then, in droves, residents take to the lakes. Ontario’s 279-square-mile Lake Simcoe, for instance, attracts extra folks for its ice fishing than another lake in North America, attracting upwards of 4,000 huts every year.

The colourful villages of hand-built buildings that populate many fashionable spots through the coldest months caught the attention of Toronto-based architectural photographer Richard Johnson (1957-2021), who captured a whole bunch of the buildings, from the creative to the ad-hoc, in a sequence of daring portraits taken between 2007 and 2019. “I’ve at all times been fascinated with small buildings,” Johnson stated. He continued:

My earliest recollection of shelter was as a 6-year-old rising up in Trinidad. It was a guard home for our neighbour. Not more than three partitions and a lean to roof, it was a easy answer to shade the cruel solar and shield from tropical rains. These shelters, constructed by people with obtainable supplies, impressed me to take discover.

The pictures spotlight a wide selection of supplies and design selections that comprise the seasonal communities, from plastic tarps wrapped round poles to one-person sheds to comparatively subtle board-and-batten buildings. Johnson captured the person character of every hut in a sq. format, framed by a snowy panorama, with their inhabitants sometimes out of view. Sufficiently small to be towed onto the ice with a car, some variations boast distinctive decor and sufficient house to carry a number of folks, a small range, and primary provisions.

See extra on Richard Johnson Gallery’s web site, the place prints can be found for buy.


“Ice Hut #356” (2010), La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Saguenay River, Québec

“Ice Village #178” (2016), Péribonka, Lac Saint-Jean, Québec

“Ice Hut GRID #11”

“Ice Hut #220” (2009), Killarney Seashore, Lake Simcoe, Ontario

“Ice Hut #137” (2008), Gilford, Lake Simcoe, Ontario

“Ice Hut #998” (2017), New Liskeard, Lake Timiskaming, Ontario

“Ice Village #47” (2013), Renforth, Kennebecasis River, New Brunswick

“Ice Hut #946” (2016), Péribonka, Lac Saint-Jean, Québec

#Richard Johnson


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