Waskesiu (Elk)

Lisa Stinner-Kun


“With this image, I feel like I’m watching a live work of art. The setting is magnificent. It creates a sense of harmony between the building and the nature in which it is embedded. Without really seeing the building, it seems obvious that the integration is successful.” – Félix Michaud, juror 

This image comes from a series of photographs I took for 1×1 Architecture, a firm based in Winnipeg, Canada. They commissioned me to photograph a new beach house in Waskesiu, Saskatchewan, a quaint vacation town located in Prince Albert National Park. The building beautifully complements its wild, subdued surroundings. 

Before the elk came into view, I was initially struck by the subtle way the architecture was framing the landscape. Standing there in-person felt like being in a gallery, looking at a moving landscape painting. After taking my first shots without the elk, I packed up and walked away to set up for another photograph. While under my dark cloth, I heard beachgoers getting excited about something. I looked up to find the elk sauntering through the water, and I immediately knew I had to rush back to the earlier location to catch them in the frame of the previous composition. Luckily, I had enough time to set up and wait for the elk to perfectly position themselves. Now, with the elk in the image, the architecture transforms into a kind of cinema, where we can appreciate not just the beautiful scene unfolding on the movie screen, but the experience of the theatre—the architecture—as well.