My Prairie Biome project looks at how human intervention in the form of agriculture and urban development has dramatically altered the prairie landscapes of Western Canada, and how some tiny islands of sanctuary are currently being quietly reclaimed, as farmhouses built by settlers many generations ago are abandoned. With no humans living there to mow the property, these crumbling buildings and the surrounding land are skipped over by the plow, allowing native plant and animal species to begin to reoccupy these small refuges. In my ghostly imaginary landscapes, where skeletal flowers and grasses tower over leaning houses, the reversal of human occupation is nearly complete.
Julya Hajnoczky was born in Calgary, Canada, and raised by hippie parents, surrounded by unruly houseplants, bookishness and art supplies, with CBC radio playing softly, constantly, in the background. Inevitably, as a result, she grew up to be an artist. Her multidisciplinary practice includes photography and sculpture, and seeks to ask questions and inspire curiosity about the complex relationships between humans and the natural world. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has been acquired by public and private collections including the AFA and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. If she’s not in her home studio working on something tiny, she’s out in the forest working on something big.
Instagram and Twitter: @obscuralucida
In Conversation: Julya Hajnoczky and David Christensen
The landscape of Alberta’s eastern counties is a place of straight lines, ploughed fields, grazing cattle, empty towns, few people. Overhead wires parallel the slow side roads that scarify the land. As photographers, we lingered over common objects, the peripheral, the overlooked and ordinary: the hastily built farm shacks by the highway; the jumble of buildings at the edge of town that we usually rush past. We searched for traces of how a place is slowly changed, by what or by whom. We looked for landscapes of the future and individuals from the past, all to create images that are aware of the constant cycle of building and decay.