Photographer Lewis Ableidinger is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  These images are from his project ‘A Town You Haven’t Heard Of – Kensal, ND‘.  To see Lewis’ body of work click on any image.




Valentine’s Day


Kensal Community Cafe


Opal at Home


Kensal (population 163) is a small town just off of Highway 20 in central North Dakota. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s the town I grew up in. It wasn’t really what you’d call a thriving town, but it had what you needed; a grocery store, a cafe, three churches, and of course a bar. It even had a high school until last year when a class of two was the final ones to receive a diploma on the makeshift stage erected in the gymnasium.


'The grocery store closed, the cafe almost closed, people moved on, and people passed on..."


I began making photographs of the people and places of Kensal in 2003 during visits home from college. At first I just viewed them as interesting pictures of my town but as the years progressed they developed into a more meaningful project. The grocery store closed, the cafe almost closed, people moved on, and people passed on; the patina of time added a new dimension to the old 35mm negatives filed away in the basement.


Class of 2004 Graduation


Pingree Buchanan Kensal – Girls Basketball


These photographs represent Kensal as I remember it. The old men gathered at the bar to warm up on a cold winter night; most of the town turned out to watch the girl’s basketball team; the special Valentine’s Day dinner at the community-owned cafe. This was life in Kensal.


Field Dressing a Deer on Opening Weekend


Main Street at Night


Kensal Community Cafe


See also:

The Cold War In North Dakota

By Lewis Ableidinger