A Year on the Ranch: Seasons of Solitude
A Year on the Ranch:
Seasons of Solitude
In the years 1999 and 2000, I traveled to the Arapahoe Ranch, high in the mountains of North Park, Colorado, to photograph the work of a commercial cattle ranch. I went there four times to record the cycle of seasons as seen through the outfit's activities: feeding and calving in the winter and spring, irrigating and branding in the early summer, haying, riding herd and round-up in the late summer and early fall. I had worked on neighboring ranches for an extended period of time ten years before, and so had always wanted to return in order to show some of the life I had come to know quite well.
What I took away with me, however, was not merely a set of pictures that document these events, aspects of a way of life that is regrettably disappearing, but ones that also meditate on the immense solitude which the place holds. These ranchers work and live in direct, unmediated contact with a landscape that is vast and spectacular, but also harsh and overpowering; it is a brutally honest existence. In considering this relationship of a people to their work and land, I have attempted to portray an experience of the place, and how I found myself caught between its beauty and its sublimity, suspended between inspiration and melancholy, joy and loneliness.