Wild Horse Racing, Bartlett
I love shooting rodeos–after all, they’re the subject of my next book. And at rodeos, wild horse races are by far one of the most energizing, terrifying events for a photographer. Horses and people bucking and running and shouting and riding all mean lots of danger, and that’s a certainty if one isn’t careful.
But the photos are worth it.
Boy in Inflatable House, Bartlett
I’ve always found textures a worthwhile and intoxicating tool for making photographs, as well as frames-within-frames, so when I found this inflatable house at the Wheeler County Fair and a boy playing inside, I stuck around for a bit–and was rewarded.
Rodeo Cowboys, Arthur
Rodeo stops for nothing. Nothing.
A massive storm rolled through the skies over Arthur, Nebraska, for the Saturday performance at the rodeo, complete with massive wind, torrential rains, and…lightning. Big bolts of lightning. But no one moved, especially the cowboys.
And so the festivities continued, and so did I, photographing–and I was rewarded with the storm and sunset and visual drama and…this image.
Bronc Rider, Greeley Rodeo
Many thanks to the Greeley Rodeo Committee for giving me carte blanche access to their rodeo this year–the shots were worth it and people were fantastic!
Cowboys at Anthem, Stapleton
I’ve always liked the last line of Tolkein’s The Return of the King: “Well, I’m back.” And so I am, after digging out the studio from a mound of baby clothes and papers after a nearly four-week absence. I had a wonderful group of students at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop, and I learned more from them than I’m sure they learned from me (which is how it usually works). Since I’ve been back from New Mexico and Colorado, I’ve been on a fair number of shoots as I try to develop the details of my upcoming Nebraska Arts Council exhibition in 2015, but the call of rural rodeos is strong.
Recollections No. 1: Longing
Well, I’ve returned from the Southwest after teaching a one-week course called “The American West: The Vision and the Print” at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. My very dear friend Melinda Green Harvey was in the class, and I can’t even begin to express how much fun I had working with such a pal over a whole week, and just talking about pictures to boot! But now I’m back, and it’s time to get back to work on shooting.
I was honored earlier this year when the Nebraska Arts Council named me as one of their 16 solo/duo statewide exhibitors for the Fred Simon Gallery in Omaha’s Old Market district for 2015. Of course, that comes with a workload–I have to produce a new body of work. While the overall series is about half done, I won’t show much of the pieces until the show opens in April of next year.
But it’s always fun to offer a preview…
Tree, Pond and Fence, South Dakota
I drive a lot of back roads. A lot. It drives my wife—and on trips, my students—nuts at times. But this habit grew from my understanding that back roads offer prime chances at images few people ever see, a chance to unite a rural sensibility with a visual aesthetic that has both meaning and appeal.
Night Storm, Wyoming High Plains
Harbinger of much-needed moisture for the shortgrass of the remote ranching country of eastern Wyoming’s High Plains, a 2 a.m. thunderstorm’s lightning strike softly illuminates the contours of the land. Such storms spelled problems for ranchers in the past, turning back roads into greasy, impassable swamps, but with the bittersweet boom of the new oil and gas bonanza has also come newly improved roads that provide a never-before-seen ease of access to the backcountry for residents.
Such thoughts never occurred to me until those same roads allowed me to get home on Saturday after the rains turned the Lusker Ranch road into, well…soup.
I’ve been working in earnest on my new series, Recollections, an exploration of memory as it interacts with legend and tradition. This piece, “Longhorns, Glen,” is an example of how I’ve been visualizing the ways in which that theme can be expressed through symbols of the West.
Lost Springs Storm
Thursday night last week was one of those magical evenings when, as Ansel Adams was fond of saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” I had been to Lost Springs a number of times to photographically explore, but as storms rolled across east-central Wyoming near evening, I came back with the expectation of something…special. Chance, indeed: A train rolled through town, allowing life in the shot, and as a gift, the storm gave me a lightning bolt.