YORKTON -- A Yorkton couple has turned their passion for photography into a virtual art exhibit, showcasing a cemetery from a nearby town.

A long-time love for photography has Keith and Debbie Hayward making trips to old small town cemeteries in southeastern Saskatchewan, capturing the legacy of their history.

The Haywards said these photographs are meant as a tribute to the pioneers who would visit the churches to worship, be married, and ultimately buried — representing a time period that exists in the past, present, and future.

"We always say that every headstone tells a story. There's a story of somebody's life and we're certainly interested in the history and genealogy components of that,” said Keith. 

One well-maintained cemetery captured the couple’s attention, leading them to what once stood as Jaroslaw Church. 

Jaroslaw Church, located west of Yorkton, was built in 1903 and burned down in 2010. The church was the first community structure built.

The couple described the site as very respectful, serene, and spiritual. 

“Maybe we were just there on such a perfect day, but there was such a feeling of peace and serenity there. And the way everything was nicely kept up, there was definitely a feeling of respect for the sport. That place really moved us,” said Debbie. 

The Haywards said capturing photographs is their way of appreciating the pioneers and those that take care of little country cemeteries. 

“They’ve been gone for probably one hundred years, but this is a way of remembering them and paying tribute to them,” said Debbie. 

The couple’s pictures of the churchyard where Jaroslaw Church once stood are currently featured on the Yorkton Art Council Virtual Exhibit for everyone to access.