Canadian documentary photographer turns his camera to his home town

July 7, 2016

Photographer Kyler Zeleny is prolific in the amount of deep and interesting photography projects and organisations he is involved with. Deceding to bring things home and focus his lens on personal surrounds, Kyler provided a unqiue perspective on a place he calls home. 

photographer kyler zeleny prints on fuji gloss at theprintspace

Hey! Please introduce yourself and what you do!

Howdy. My names Kyler Zeleny, I am a Canadian ruralite and my more serious work generally reflects my upbringing. I currently live in Toronto where I am teaching assistant and working on completing my PhD research, which deals with rurality in small communities in Western Canada. Sometimes I teach, sometimes I publish, sometimes I curate, sometimes I write, and at the end of the year I even sometimes photograph.  

Tell me a little bit about your current project.

I just finished a project called Georgia Georgia, which was a collaboration with the Russian photographer Yanina Shevchenko. This summer I have carved out four weeks to continue my project Crown Ditch & The Prairie Castle. Which is a continuation of my work in rural Western Canada. This project will go on for another year or two with the real shooting taking place over 6 months next year.


Kyler Zeleny prints on fuji gloss at theprintspace for his canadian photographs


What are the pros and cons you find daily about your practice?

CON, it’s not daily. I only get about a month out of the year to photograph, the rest of the time I spend doing academic related BS while thinking about photographing. PRO, when I am photographing I am a very happy soul. I love discovery.

When is the best time to work to get those creative juices going?

When the mind should be focused on something else. The mind tends to wonder.

You print with us here at theprintspace, what is your go to paper of choice?

Fuji Gloss

What do you like the most about using this paper?

It reproduces the shine of my Found Polaroids project well and that was the last thing I had printed with TPS.

If you could experiment with any other medium, what would you choose?

Videography > primarily drones and 360VR cameras, and drawing/mapping. All things I hope to bring into my practice starting this summer.


kyler zeleny prints on fuji gloss c-type at theprintspace


Where do you get your daily inspiration?

Most days there is no inspiration. I spend a lot of time wishing I had a simpler mind.

What makes you wake up each morning feeling pumped to create some new work?

I never wake up pumped; it is a perpetual battle to get out of bed. When I am photographing I travel distances and sleep in my car so I get up because I’m scared someone will start knocking on my window.

Are there any artists/photographers/writers/filmmakers or musicians where you have in mind when looking at creating new works?

Too too too many to name. But yes, there are film makers, photographers and writers and they all influence.


kyler zeleny prints with theprintspace on fuji gloss for his photographs of canada


What are you currently working on that you just can’t get enough of?

Everything’s a creative grind, the only thing I can’t get enough of is tacos and sparkling water. Toronto has good tacos and I have a Sodastream so pretty solid on that front.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make a career out of your given practice?

Academia will suck your creative energy, dreams and time, so stay clear. Learn wherever you can and practice the art of learning. And don’t get into documentary photography for its career possibilities. Find a job, get a pension and then do documentary photography as a hobby. Or win the lottery. Save the headache.
IG: kylerzeleny
IG: found.polaroids 


Get in touch

Use the live chat function which operates during UK office hours by clicking the blue icon in the bottom right of your page. Alternatively, use the form provided and a member of our team will get back to you shortly.