Exploring Alberta's "Wild"

1/13

Photo Series, 2020

 

In the summer of 2020, I spent a month traveling across southern Alberta to multiple areas designated as National Parks, Provincial Parks, and historic sites. This project allowed me to learn about contemporary, historical, political, and cultural relationships with certain landscapes that, for me personally, have always represented some conception of "wilderness."

 

Having grown up in Alberta, these places came to represent an ideal display of nature without necessarily having the international renown that Banff or Jasper National Park have. They all became places that felt very important to me, to my sense of place and belonging, and to my interest in ecology and the environment. 

 

While traveling to these sites and exploring the landscape through photography, I wanted to question my own perspective and the mainstream view of what these places represented. Being critical of how "wilderness" has been defined by colonial systems was important to me, and I wanted the photos I took to quietly challenge common portrayals of landscapes seen as more "natural" or "wild." All of these landscape's histories include interactions and relationships with people; their ecologies have in a large part been shaped by people, and each has thousands to millions of people visiting each year. 

 

 The places I visited included Kananaskis Country, Beaver Mines Provincial Park and the Crowsnest Pass, Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, and Dinosaur Provincial Park. This project was funded by the Roloff Beny Photography Award.