Apr 21, 2014

Saskatchewan Grain Elevators: Part 1

The wooden grain elevator is an icon of the prairies. Towering and monolithic, few buildings encapsulate the identity and history of Western Canada so completely. They've become a stereotype of an entire region, and yet year after year they've been disappearing from the landscape. Occasionally abandoned, more often demolished, you'd be hard pressed to find a wooden grain elevator in many major centres anymore - none spring to mind in fact. 

Driving from Medicine Hat, Alberta to Regina, Saskatchewan I made a concerted effort to stop in small communities along the Trans Canada Highway to photograph any of the remaining wooden elevators that I could spot. From Gull Lake to Mortlach, I allowed myself to get lost in the local scenery. Towns that I'd driven through a hundred times before became uncharted territory that was suddenly worth exploring. 

After editing all of my images for this three part series, the value of what I'd come away with sank in. If I had done this a decade ago there would've been so many more elevators to seek out. Thus is the appeal. Photographing places that aren't often thoroughly documented makes them more profound in the long run. After a few years the work is more than art, it's a rare archive of something that most people didn't even notice until it was gone.  

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