A colleague and friend, Dion Manastyrski, is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to fund the printing of his first book 'Prairie Sunset: A Story Of Change'. The book will be printed at Friesens in Altona, Manitoba - a place I know very well as I have published all of my books with this great printer. Indiegogo is a crowd-sourcing mechanism for people all over the world to join forces to make ideas happen. Dion has been working hard on his idea to produce a quality book about the vanishing prairies for some 10 years now.
I had the privilege to meet Dion this past summer as he traveled to Manitoba to gather information from The Manitoba Archives and to create a few more images for the project. We also spent a day together photographing in the Pembina Valley. 'Prairie Sunset: A Story of Change' is a book of beautiful photographs of the Canadian Prairies to be sure but it's also a book about how the prairies have changed. Based on more than 70 interviewers that Dion has conducted himself with 'prairie settlers', this book will be one to cherish for years to come.
“In my search for understanding, as I roamed the homesteads of a vanishing era, I photographed the abandoned structures, and talked to the people of the prairies. I listened to their memories of the past and their feelings about the changes, and gathered some of their thoughts and anecdotes. In these writings and photographs, the story of the homesteaders emerged. Collectively, they have a remarkable story to tell, and I would like to share this with you in an upcoming book” says Dion.
“In 1938, my dad drove a horse and sled to the nearest phone, 4 miles away, and phoned the doctor. The doctor came by snowplane, which is an enclosed cabin on skis, powered by a gas engine with a large propellor at the back. I remember being afraid of the noise when the snowplane approached the house, and I thought the noise and blown snow might break the windows” remembers Helen Manastyrski of Ponass Lake, Saskatchewan.
If you're interested in the prairies, consider supporting Dion's venture by pre-ordering a book or making a donation.
You can see more of Dion's images as well as read more about the project at: www.prairiesunset.ca