Disappearing cowboys get exposure

  • "DAYBREAK, TS RANCH"

    Adam Jahiel
 


Each spring, photographer Adam Jahiel leaves his home in northeast Wyoming and treks to the remotest corners of the Great Basin to photograph cowboys on their annual roundups. The seasonal journey has become a 10-year personal quest. Jahiel, whose photos have appeared in The New York Times and National Geographic among others, says he is racing to capture traditional ranch life before it vanishes.


"I'm in love - in love with the land, the isolation and the physicality (of cowboying)," says Jahiel, who grew up in the Midwest. "I want to leave behind a record of this fast disappearing world."


Through Sept. 7, Jahiel will be exhibiting part of that photographic record at the Ucross Foundation Art Gallery in Clearmont, Wyo.


Jahiel was first drawn to ranching during an assignment photographing rodeo bulls for the Sacramento Bee. While on the ranch, he toured a bunkhouse; its stark furnishings and spare form captured his imagination and ignited a passion.


Jahiel has a clear idea of an authentic cowboy. "If someone is wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt and a baseball cap and is driving a truck, I won't photograph them," he says. Instead, he seeks out ranching outfits that practice methods little altered from 100 years ago; many of his subjects spend weeks camped out in the basin's rugged landscape, glued to a horse.


Jahiel is grateful that he started photographing when he did: "Every year the crews get smaller and younger." Recently he returned to a favorite site "in the middle of nowhere," only to see a radio tower sprouting out of the ground.


For more information about Jahiel's photographs, visit www.adamjahiel.com or call the Ucross Foundation Art Gallery in Clearmont, Wyo., at 307/737-2291.
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