Kyler Zeleny - Out West

The Velvet Cell, 2014

 

Photographer and sociologist Kyler Zeleny grew up in Canada, near the loss rural areas and communities narrated in his book ‘Out West’, published by The Velvet Cell in 2014.

Influenced by the masters of american colour photography like Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, the author focused his research on vanishing landscape, homes, cars, machinery, sidewalks and roadways. Not in a usual way, he used a medium square format Yashica 124G to document and portrait the archeology of rural decay and to describe this personal travelogue. The trajectory moves through the landscape of the Canadian West, exploring small rural communities and western towns.

 

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

 

The book opens with a TS Elliot quote: “… the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” A map could be a good place to start the journey on a mental level. Sometimes a survey could be an inner model of the outer world, and we use this to organize our lives.

Includes essays by: Kyler Zeleny, Ginger Strand and Craig Campbell.

 

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

 

 

INTERVIEW

GACould you tell us something more about the creation of the book? Do you have a special relationship with that places?

KZ – I have a very special relationship to these places, I grew up on a farm near a small town in Alberta. My family’s livelihood is tied to these spaces and so I feel it is important to represent them. The book’s creation was a mediation between myself in rural Canada and the publisher in Taiwan. So in a sense the book was sequenced in the same space that the images were created. However, the book also required a large urban center for quality printing. This urban and rural connection is a latent theme that the book touches upon. No rural space exists without the urban and vice versa. And as much focus as is being placed on the urban we must not forget the importance of the rural.

GAHow do you wish your images to be experienced, as a narrative or something more ambiguous and thematic?

KZ – I sequenced the images in a manner that they would elicit certain emotions. The images at time may seem to be placed in an ambiguous order but there are themes that run throughout the book. I wanted people to view the project and understand the emotions the space (small rural communities in the Canadian West) imbues.

GAYou started out studying sociology. What made you shift to photography?

KZ – I had always been interested in photography. It wasn’t until my time at Goldsmiths that I began to develop my interest in ‘visual sociology’. I was beginning to be exposed to academics that were using visual methods as a medium of expression and research. I was interested in how photography, as a form of language, could transfer meaning and messages in a way that writing could not.

GAWhat book about photography would you recommend?

KZ – The photography world is exploding with impressive photography books. Given my interest in photography that is informed critically I would recommend Liz Wells’ Photography: A Critical Introduction. It is a well-developed introductory text on photography and covers many key themes to the discipline. It is good for a long time image-maker who is interested in thinking more critical about their art form, as well, it works well for university students looking to incorporate photography and visual methods to their studies.

 

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

© Out West by Kyler Zeleny (The Velvet Cell, 2014)

 

Kyler Zeleny is a Canadian visual sociologist. He is interested in Found Images from family albums, conscious/unconscious construction of ‘deviant cultures’, alternative culture movements, and how this defines and influences social policies. 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 in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London in Photography and Urban Cultures. He is a guest editor with the publishing house The Velvet Cell and is a member of the Association of Urban Photographers (AUP). His first monograph—Out West—was launch this summer with The Velvet Cell.

Published by The Velvet Cell, 2014
Section-Sewn with Card Cover, 148 x 210 mm
112 pages
Colour Offset Printed
ISBN 978-1-908889-24-9
Limited Edition of 500

kylerzeleny.com
www.thevelvetcell.com

Curated by Gianpaolo Arena