Forsaken Gallery: Fordson Power Major

Forsaken Gallery: Fordson Power Major

This Fordson tractor is at my cousin’s house. Many members of my family love to collect junk with the thought of future repair — but it often gets abandoned to more pressing projects and time. Farms have a way of doing that to you — stealing away even the best intentions. It is not at all unusual to find tractors, combines, plows, and other implements simply left where they were last used. I love the added effect of the tools in the seat, all growing moss and rust along with the tractor itself. It makes you wonder what life intervened in this tractor’s repair — what was the last thought before laying down the tools in the seat and moving on never to return?

About the Forsaken Gallery

Forsaken objects fascinate me.

What we leave behind, abandon, relinquish, disown, junk, dump and scrap absolutely amazes me. It says a lot about who we are as a culture, that forsaken objects are in abundance throughout our world. It says a lot about an individual as to what unique forsaken objects he or she has discarded.

Junk and junk yards have been a favorite photographic haunt of mine since my very first camera. Some of the very first images I made were of disavowed items. They are a favorite subject in this blog. They include everything from living breathing animals to houses; tractors to Anastazi Ruins; trucks to trinkets; skulls to shells.

Next

Next

Powerful. Capable. Confident.

Ready.

All of these words describe Holly True, the subject in this image.

Around the ranch, she has been dubbed the Stallion Master. That should tell you a lot considering she’s only 18. She is an accomplished horse trainer. She is well educated — she can talk with you articulately and all in the same conversation about politics, poetry and philosophy. She can, as her title suggests, handle stallions — as well as mares, foals, and riding horses. She is good with a gun. She can do whatever the task is at hand — gates, trucks, hay, trailers …

She never backs down. She is always ready for what’s next. That is Holly.

In this image, it looks to me like she’s ready to ride the NEXT horse she decides to cut from the herd.

We’ve all heard the story of some {insert country} tribe that doesn’t allow cameras because they {ignorantly} feel that a photograph can steal their soul. We laugh at the concept of someone so backward that they could believe such a notion. But is not that the ultimate goal of a photograph — to set to record the essence of a person, place, animal or object? Not maybe to “steal,” but at the very least to borrow or capture that subject’s truth in that place and in that moment in time.

When I was in college, I was a creative writing major. My favorite format was the short story — still is if you want to know the truth. Once I had a discussion with other writers and we came to the conclusion that novelists were short story writers who didn’t know when to stop writing and short story writers were poets who used too many words. The more economy to the words, the more intense the writing.

When I look at this image its economy of words speaks to me. Whether you glance at it or study it for an hour, it will tell you a story — and that, to me, makes it my favorite photograph out of the 6000 plus images I’ve shot this week.

What’s more, is that I didn’t force the image. As an artist, I trusted my process and I trusted my subject. I didn’t agonize over settings or measure the light; I didn’t try to wrangle the horses or manipulate the scene. I had just been there when Holly dismounted from the horse she’d been riding bareback — actually, she had caught that horse from the herd, jumped on, run full out for a group of photographers and, having completed that,  slid off to release him back to his buddies. When she walked by me, I noticed she had “bareback butt” — and I liked the thought of that in an image, so I had her turn around so I could photograph her dirty jeans. In the background, the herd of horses were milling around where the wranglers were holding them until the photographers could get down the hill to photograph them as they ran down. Next thing I know, this image was in my camera.

As a photographer, as a story teller, this is the best kind of image — real, raw, powerful, authentic and unplanned.

Below are two more images of Holly from this week’s shoots…

Dark Messengers

Dark Messengers

“Leave no black plume as a token of the lie thy soul hath spoken.” — The Raven, Edgar Alan Poe

One of the things that I love about being a writer and a photographer — artist — is that you hone your skill of seeing. Throughout my last trip, and even when I came home, ravens (crows here in Missouri) have been a constant presence for me. Or warning.

Every raven I see seems to whisper to me, softly inviting me into their obsidian world of truth and lies. It is a journey I am not sure I want to take. It is a journey I can not resist to take.

Lies masquerading as truth are a theme in my life. From childhood, though adulthood and very much so in the past few months. I have entertained them, courted them, denied them, begged for them, held them close and pushed them away.

It will be interesting to see where the journey takes me as I follow the ravens …  I promise, I will invite you along if you dare to follow.

Canyon Horses

Canyon Horses

One of the most sacred places on earth to me is Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. I have no reasoning for this — it’s not a genetic link, but a spiritual one.

Years ago, and without any understanding of where I was going, a friend introduced me to this place. It healed my soul then — and now. There is something truly amazing about just being in the presence of this place where nature, erosion, the ancient, the past and the present merge into something that feels like it makes time not matter.

IMG_1945Today, Nick and I took a jeep tour through Canyon del Muerto to my favorite area ruin, Mummy Cave. I could stare into the eyes of this ruin endlessly.

On this trip, horses and ravens have guided me. The horses are here in this post, the ravens will follow someday in a future post. The light and the dark — I feel their lesson will be guiding me for some time ahead.