The Latest Chapter in the Cowboy Poetry Photo Project: A Photographic Adventure with Amy and Gail Steiger
Recently, for the first time since 2009, before my daughter was born, I was able to shoot again for my project documenting the cowboy poets and musicians who I have met in Elko, Nevada over the past decade and then some at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. I have simply come to refer to this body of work as the “Cowboy Poetry Project.”
This past June I had the honor and pleasure of visiting the talented Amy and Gail Steiger at work on the Spider Ranch outside of Prescott, Arizona. They were working cows together during the days I spent with them.
The latest installment of the project, which are images I made during time spent with the Steigers has just been posted to the section of my website also titled “Cowboy Poetry Project.”
The intention of the project was to offer a glimpse into the worlds of the cultural storytellers of the American West. The images are meant to go beyond the stage persona – which is how many see them; onstage performing in their fringed leather, pristine “show” hats and colorful dress up boots, but as they are in their regular daily lives. All the performers whom I have worked with lead or have led authentic Western lives, which they draw from for their creativity.
These shoots are a mere glimpse into their worlds at a point in time during my visit with each of them. Some actively cowboy, some have moved on to other daily activities, some never cowboyed, but are very much a part of the fabric of the American West. Appearances, relationships, jobs and homes have changed for some of them since the photos were made. In fact, I am particularly grateful for the time I spent with Jack Walther and his wife Irene on their farm in Lamoille, Nevada. He has passed since our visit.
This project was originally conceived to be a photography book, with a poem by each artist to accompany the images. It was not intended to be an iconic Western cowboys and horses photography book. These beautiful books already exist thanks to the talents of people such as Jay Duasrd and others. I do have to mention the influence of William Albert Allard, whose work has influenced my ideas for this since inception.
I am interested in your opinions and advice and assistance in regards to the process of making this book a reality. Where do I go from here?
I do plan to continue to shoot and if any one of you wonderful Elko performers (you know who you are) would like to discuss a visit to your ranch or home, please contact me and let’s get it going.