Inspiration can come from anywhere and be the start of something extraordinary. For Robert Scott, this was exactly the case for his documentary photography project, ‘The Secondary Highway’. What started as creative photography has manifested into solving the mysteries behind the most iconic abandoned places discarded in the most picturesque landscapes.
‘The Secondary Highway’ is a journey into the past told through Robert Scott’s photographs and interviews from the prairie people who have close ties and stories to these picturesque prairie properties.
“The most interesting things on the prairies are found off the secondary highway. Abandoned houses, barns, vehicles and cemeteries are found discarded near dying prairie towns. Fleeting images pass our car windows igniting questions, Who lived there? What stories do they tell? Where are they now?. Unbeknownst to me, the Highway was also a road of self-discovery.”
The first season of ‘The Secondary Highway’ is made up of ten episodes, including eight houses, a hotel, a locomotive roundhouse and a junkyard with 1200+ classic vehicles. Each with stories from the mouths of the descendants themselves, creating a unique experience beyond the photograph.
Unfortunately, time is not on our side. These places are returning to nature. They’re dying along with the descendants and their stories. Each day may bring a strong wind, heavy snowfall or prairie grass fire that will silence the past. Abandoned for decades, these unique properties and their descendants are in their twilight years. Each story is precious. The goal is to capture through photos and videos as many stories as possible before they are lost forever.
The first episode, The Hickmore House – The Story of an Abandoned House on the Alberta Prairies, focuses on 87-year-old Ron Thorson, who tells the tale of hardship and joy in the house he called his childhood home. From walking to the one-room schoolhouse in the wintertime to his pet antelope Minnie, Ron is proud of his family and frequently visits the property to this day. Watch it below!