I grew up on a cattle ranch in south eastern Oregon and I would have liked to have lived on a cattle ranch my entire life. But a bad marriage ended that dream and I spent the rest of my life making a living in town for my three children and myself.
Not living on a ranch left me with a broken heart and is the root of my need to document the people who keep the Great Basin buckaroo/vaquero/Californios traditions. I actually took my first photos of buckaroos in 1990, and seriously began traveling in 2005. I have taken at least a million photos and edited them down to about a half million that I like.
I have a MS Degree, in part in Fine Art, and have had nearly fifty group and solo shows of my contemporary art over the years before starting this journey with my camera. I use a top of the line Nikon now and I am also a master user of Photoshop and Lightroom which helps.
I didn’t know hardly anyone when I started traveling to the Great Basin, so I started by taking photos at ranch rodeos out in little desert communities, then I would make prints of my best, and have a box of photos in the back of my pickup for people to see the next time I visited. That way I could build trust that I wasn’t going to misrepresent this proud and unique sub-culture of the bigger cowboy culture. At these rodeos I made connections to visit many of the big ranches where I generally visited at brandings when the largest number of crew would be present at one time. I still photograph a lot of ranch rodeos, though, as a result of how I started this journey.
Facebook has been critical to sharing my photos with a world wide audience of now near 700,000 people who “like” my Buckaroo Country Facebook page. Before Facebook, artists like myself were subject to the whims and politics of magazine editors and art gallery owners. Facebook has made them nearly irrelevant if artists will work hard doing their “Facebooking.”
See my photos here:
and my Mary Williams Hyde Facebook page
Here are a few more pictures before we go...
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