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 archeology 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, Canada, where he is a doctoral student at York University.
The images in this book are part of a project documenting small rural communities (1,000 inhabitants or less) in the Canadian West. As demographic changes – ‘rural drain, urban claim’ – persist, many would argue that the rural is becoming a redundant sidepiece in a world that is increasingly concerned with the urban. The project investigates how rural communities in the Canadian West struggle to hold onto their heritage despite the diminishing vitality of these towns.
The significance of these images is that they are not images of an American past, but of a Canadian present, a visual account of the Canadian West stressing legacy retention, regional identity and decay. We must reflect on that which is near to being forgotten. Understanding the past is important in establishing a sense of self. People wish to be connected to the past, and perhaps this is something still obtainable in the rural West.
To view more of Kyler’s work please his website.