KYLER ZELENY (1988) is a Canadian photographer, educator and author of Out West (2014), Found Polaroids (2017), Crown Ditch & The Prairie Castle (2020), and Bury Me in the Back Forty (2024). He holds Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Alberta, a Masters from Goldsmiths College, in Photography and Urban Cultures and a PhD from the joint Communication & Culture program at Ryerson and York University. His work has been exhibited internationally in twelve countries and has been featured in numerous publications including The Globe & Mail, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Vice, and The Independent. He occupies his time by exploring photography on the Canadian prairies.


For over a decade, my pursuit of knowledge has taken me onto the backroads of rural western Canada and the occasional dip into the United States. Sleeping in my car, showering in community pools and in lakes, I’ve occupied my time trying to understand present-day ideas of rurality and how they are visually represented. This pursuit of understanding the rural at times has consumed me, but that’s ok as it is important work. From these journeys I’ve made a few observations that can loosely be thought of as a philosophy of making.

Respect the process as much as the outcome. Respect the hustle. Respect yourself but respect others more, especially those willing to dialogue with you. Understand that the best place for you to be lost is within your own work. Feel no need to compromise, do the work until you feel it is complete. Place virtue not within intellect but within the pursuit of knowledge. Be able to reiterate Bourdieu but also know how to weld. Attempt to be original and do not sour when you realize you are not. Quit things that don’t excite you. Know the best place to be a creative is in the field; depleted and dirty but also energized.