The second of two pieces in the PlainSky Nebraskans show featuring boots, I was captivated by this man’s boots, the wagon wheel, pipe and dry, dead grass in the shadows. For me, it is a image about life expressed in textures.
One of the showcase images in the PlainSky, Nebraskans gallery, “Embroidery Cottons, Sioux County” (like nearly all my images) is a metaphor that has led many to speculate on its possible meanings. But like most artists, I leave the answer a secret, and the audience is left to ponder.
During the several years I’ve worked on the PlainSky project, I’ve fallen in love with quiet, unguarded moments that are still carefully lonely, as my friend Alessandro Ciapanna said about my work. And he’s right; I like those intimate moments where we as onlookers feel like we’ve found an interlude we weren’t supposed to see.
This shot, taken in January of 2012 in Harrison’s Longhorn Saloon, is one of those times. Weary, his shoulders slumped, a cowboy sits, the dim lights of the saloon and a Coke cooler filled with beer the only elements that brighten the room and betray the fatigue on his face.
It seems like it’s been an eternity in the making at times, but simply a brief moment at others. Nevertheless, “PlainSky, Nebraskans” is off to the editors Monday for creative and copy critiques and makeovers, then to press by February 10. Books will ship mid-March if customers aren’t able to make it to either the West Nebraska Arts Center opening in Scottsbluff on March 1, or the Minden Opera House Gallery on April 19. There are still some copies of the book left for pre-order, but hurry, since it is a limited edition of 100.
Just for fun, I’ve provided a high-quality PDF of the introduction and an excerpt from chapter one, “Nebraskans.” Enjoy, but remember this is still a pre-edited version, so some changes in writing, spelling and grammar are likely still afoot.
Sometimes the best images are the ones we find looking later.
Let’s try this again. I have to extend my thanks to everyone who was kind enough to offer his or her opinion on the Bales and Storm; it was nice to have genuine feedback on what people prefer in a photograph!
So here’s one more opportunity to say, “Hey Brett, I like…” Which is better: the color boots, or the black and white?
Dreams of a ranching life, both shadows and firmament. May the firmament persist.
This young man was all too happy to show of his skill with a rope in the long, dusty light of a Saturday night at the Sioux County Fair. I wasn’t a city kid, so I’m not sure what they do to show off their prowess as they enter adulthood; but in western Nebraska, you do it with a rope and a horse.
And sometimes, just a rope.
From the wall of the telephone office of the Sioux County Museum. It gave me a chuckle.