For the past three summers I have documented the small towns and communities in the hinterland regions of Western Canada. In certain regards, these photographs also contain a biographical element, insofar as they show places I’ve lived as a child and teenager. Moving to New York in 2006 enabled me to view these areas in a different light as I began to consider their social, economic, and geographic relationships to major metropolitan centers.
During the period of economic stagnation characterizing most all of North America in the mid to late 1970’s, the socialist government of Saskatchewan nevertheless continued to balance its budget, even posting a surplus in some years. But these successes could not stand in the way of the ideological shift, which resulted in the election of a conservative government in Saskatchewan in 1982 – a shift, which coincided with the conservative Reagan revolution in the United States. The consequences of this new direction were far-reaching, and the province was forced to disassemble long-established social institutions to pay a mounting debt acquired by the conservatives – a debt that nearly bankrupted the province.
Today these social programs remain in a state of decay. My photographic project documents this state as it manifests itself in my hometown, where it affects my family, friends, and the landscape that shaped me.
Thomas Gardiner (Saskatchewan, Canada) studied at the Institute of Art and Design in 2006 (British Columbia). He went on to receive his BFA in Photography from the Cooper Union School (NYC). He has exhibited with the Houghton gallery and LaMama both in NYC. In 2009, he participated in PhotoEspaña (Madrid) and was named a Top 10 Finalist by OjedePez for Human Values. In fall of 2010, he will bgin pursuing his MFA in Photography at Yale University.