rural American West

Cowboy and Ferris Wheel, Elwood

Cowboy and Ferris Wheel, Elwood

Cowboy and Ferris Wheel, Elwood

I recently wrapped up another stint of teaching at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, somewhere I feel most honored to be an instructor. But that’s not the point of this post. Color is.

Someone I met this year in Santa Fe noted that while I’m known as a black-and-white artist, I haven’t worked solely in monochrome, and what’s more, some of my best—best!—images are in color. Ironic, no? Yet, I often feel like Eeyore when I make such images.

“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain.”

So when I made the above image and chose to leave it in color (which may mean it never goes in my forthcoming book about rural rodeos), upon seeing it, another person made a related comment regarding palette. “Oooh, color! That’s not like you.”

Oh, bother.

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My Next Solo Show: Rural Impressions

Badge of Membership, Eddyville Rodeo

Badge of Membership, Eddyville Rodeo

My next solo show, Rural Impressions: Images of the American West, opens closer to home than usual, since it’s at the Graham Gallery in Hastings, Nebraska. It’s a collection of more than 40 images from different series of work over the last five years that examine the complex relationships between the rural West and the land itself. The reception is 6-9 p.m. on April 5, so if you feel like buying a plane ticket or hopping in the car, I’ll be happy to offer you a handshake, hors d’oeuvres, and a drink.

The show will include a number of my pieces from Rural Rodeos, such as the one above, a young man at the Eddyville Rodeo who already displayed the price of entry for the life of a cowhand.

Tough Hands No. 11

Tough Hands No. 11

Tough Hands No. 11

I haven’t posted much from Tough Hands for a while; it’s tough to make more during the school year. I’m hoping that will change during the holidays.

That said, this piece reflects the notion of commitment in ranching life; it is a metaphor depicting “for better or for worse, in life and in death” on myriad levels.