The drive between Banff and Calgary, Canada is about as picturesque as one could hope. River valleys covered in forests, prairie grasslands rippling softly in the wind, and awe-inspiring mountains reaching up majestically against clear blue skies. What you don’t expect to find is this place. Almost unnoticeable behind a cluster of trees at the side of the highway is the site of an unused gas station. I am careful to say “unused” and not “abandoned” because it seems that there are still those that visit this spot. The windows are all long gone and the floor is littered with rubble and broken glass, but the walls are covered in mesmerizing, intricate graffiti and there is a relatively clear area with a skateboard ramp in the front room. From the first time I noticed it, I wanted to shoot in this contradiction – the despondent rubble painted in day-glo colour, the tiny wasteland in the idyllic foothills of the Rocky Mountains – but it would take an adventurous model to pose in this place.
I got my chance when I met Dominka Jandl, a stunning model from Czech Republic who travels the world as a muse. I had seen pictures of her posed on horseback, in rocky places and up in trees, usually wearing little that might make these locations even slightly comfortable. This was a muse who was willing to go wherever the shot was, and she made every frame a keeper.
It was the hottest day of summer as we set out with my camera bag, a few pieces of wardrobe and a broom. I must say I swept as much as I shot that day, but it was completely worth it as Dominika embraced the dingy conditions and brought the location to life. She brought the elements of glamour and softness to the shoot, which really emphasized the rough, abandoned street vibe of our location. It was one of the most uncomfortable yet immensely gratifying projects I have ever done and I genuinely hope that you will enjoy these images.
Model: Dominka Jandl
Dress: HR Style Boutique