Have you ever seen Richard Avedon's series, In the American West? Well, if you haven't you should. They are beautiful photos. He traveled across the west for six years photographing miners, ranchers, cowboys...anyone who struck him as interesting on his journey in the west. He photographed his subjects on a stark white background and shot with black and white film. He printed his photos bigger than lifesize. I would love to see them someday...
These portraits are not Avedon's, they are my own. In my Photo History class this semester, we had to write a paper on our inspiring artist, and then do a project where we do our own art piece while drawing inspiration from our artist. So of course, the mere title In The American West, caught my attention, since I come from the west myself :).
While I do love Avedon's work, I do think that he somewhat disrespected his westerner subjects by the way he presented them in his photographs. Being raised on a ranch, I have seen many different manly and hardworking ranchers and such, but never the subjects that he apparently found all over the west. He photographed men covered with blood, a young boy with a dead rotting rattlesnake, a man covered with bees... the list goes on. I ask myself, man I guess I have been missing all of these "common" subjects all my life!
My goal is not to exploit the rancher's and cowboys in my photos. I am not looking for the most interesting or most gruesome subjects. I would rather bring respect and honor the legacy that these men and women stand for today and hopefully you see just that in these photos :). Oh also, the people featured in these photos are not strangers. Each one of them is connected to or are my family...which makes them a little more special than Avedon's approach. (well at least in my opinion :))
|Mark Goswick, my amazing dad. cattle rancher|
|Dan Kelly. Our hardworking neighbor for as long as I can remember.|
|Jerry Sharp. Our Horseshoer and friend.|
|Ryan Richards. Roper. Welder. Our cousin.|
My wonderful sweet always willing model and sister, Katherine Goswick.