Along the Western Front

By (author): Leah Hennel
ISBN 9781771602051
Hardcover | Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Book Dimensions: 8.5 in. x 7.5 in.
192 Pages

About the Book

A stunning debut collection of photography focusing on contemporary cowboy culture and the modern ranching lifestyle throughout central and southern Alberta.

Growing up in the city, Leah Hennel would spend summers with her cousins on a farm near Stettler, Alberta, about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. The ranching and farming lifestyle intrigued and fascinated her from an early age, though she could already see that it was not an easy life to live. It’s always been hard work, but one of the glories of living it is that those who are able to deal with its gritty realities are rarely shackled to a desk or an ordinary suburban life. In this time of high-speed everything, the rural life is a calling that requires patience and know-how. The appeal is the general simplicity of the lifestyle and its regular exposure to the beauty of the landscape.

Most people, however, never get a glimpse of this way of life. They get their daily sustenance from supermarkets and rarely give a thought to where these necessities come from or how they’re produced. But whether city folks realize it or not, ranching and farming will always be vitally important.

Hennel specializes in and is passionate about documenting rural life. Through her always remarkable, vibrant and at times intensely personal photographs, she is able to both celebrate this essential pursuit and, in doing so, perhaps educate those who are less familiar with it.

Along the Western Front represents a fresh perspective on this iconic way of life and introduces photography enthusiasts to one of photojournalism’s more evocative shooters.

About the Author(s)

Leah Hennel is an award-winning photojournalist with more than 20 years experience. Her work appears in publications around the world, such as the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Maclean's and She is also a staff documentary photographer for Alberta Health Services. Leah lives in Calgary.


“The photographs in Along the Western Front range from high-octane shots of rodeo action and cattle and horse drives, to intimate family moments on a Hutterite colony, to gorgeous big-sky prairie landscapes and stunning black-and-white portraits of rugged cowboys, cowgirls, bull riders and sidesaddle racers.” – Calgary Herald

“Hennel’s images capture calves being ‘wrassled’ down to the ground to be branded, riders clinging to horses trying to buck them, and barrel racers who use speed and skill to create the shape of a cloverleaf. There are quiet moment as well: two young girls relaxing on a hill after sheep shearing, and the muddy and determined face of a young rodeo competitor after a ride”. – Daily Mail

“…stunning images of ranch and rodeo life…” – Maclean’s