Aesthetica Art Prize Longlisted Artist Kyler Zeleny: Found Polaroids

Aesthetica Art Prize Longlisted Artist Kyler Zeleny: Found Polaroids

Over the past two years, artist Kyler Zeleny has been working on a project centred on found Polaroids. This project has cumulated in a website, Found Polaroids which presents images of individuals and scenes from a long lost time. The premise behind the project is that we no longer know who the people in these images are, nor the origins of the images themselves.

Using that as a starting point, the project asks creatives to write flash fiction (250-350 words) about the individual shown in the images. The project invites participants to use their imagination to repurpose the photographs and give them new meaning.

The stories for the images must be relevant to an event, or based on the life of those in the photo: a story essential to the individual’s character, a defining moment or must explain, beyond what we can observe, is happening in the image. If an image has previously been written about, there is an opportunity to contribute an additional story. The story can be entirely divergent, or can be one that builds on a previous submission. In this sense, not only are the images inspiring, but the previous stories become a source for creativity.

The idea behind this project is to try and glimpse into the life of the individuals who are presented; who they were, what they did and what motivated them. The short stories can be written from the perspective of the individual, a friend or family member, or an impartial observer.

In 2014, Zeleny was longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize with his piece Broken Road from his Out West project, focused on exploring small rural communities and rural culture in the Canadian West for which he visited and documented 160 communities.

To contribute to the Found Polaroids project see

To enter this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize, visit

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is now accepting entries in poetry and short fiction. More information and entry details can be found at

Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture.

1. Kyler Zeleny, Polaroid #7. Courtesy of the artist.