The images in ‘Out West’ are part of a project documenting small rural communities in the Canadian West. Over two summers Kyler Zeleny visited 160 communities with a population of 1,000 or less.
As demographic changes – ‘rural drain, urban claim’ – persist, many would argue that the rural landscape is becoming a redundant sidepiece in a world that is increasingly concerned with city-life. The project investigates how rural communities in the Canadian West struggle to hold onto their heritage despite the diminishing vitality of these towns.
Zeleny: “I was raised on a farm in a rural community and like many I moved away. I wanted to revisit these areas as much for others as for myself. In the end I found something new and refreshing in these communities, a beauty I would wager I could not have found any other way but by leaving.”
Kyler Zeleny is a Canadian visual sociologist. He is interested in found photography, family albums and the politics of archives. His personal interests in photography, which is reflective of his rural upbringing, relates to open space, landscape portraiture, and the archaeology of rural decay. He received his bachelors in Political Science from the University of Alberta and his masters from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in Photography and Urban Cultures. He is a member of the Association of Urban Photographers (AUP). Kyler currently lives in Toronto, where he is a doctoral student in a joint Ryerson & York communication and culture program.