West Texas - 2023
In my experience there is no more enduring symbol of Americana than a working cowboy. Cowboys on the ranch are tough and they probably don’t come much tougher than West Texas Cowboys. Our dear friends in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado may disagree, but when our team think of cowboys, we find it difficult to take our visual processing too far away from our experiences in West Texas. What a most unique part of contiguous America, West Texas is and no doubt will always be.
I like to shoot against the light most of the time; it lends interest, depth and emotion. But is also tests camera technique and thereafter the whole monochrome printing process, especially when I am filming almost head on into low light. I do this to have the kicked-up dust backlit and energised. 10 degrees further away from the sun may seem small, but the difference is palpable and I prefer to be bold and keep the camera as close to head on as possible. There is always a chance - a glimpse - as my fellow Scot, Harry Benson would say. But it’s best to have low expectations.
I started darkroom printing in a converted darkroom at my family home near Glasgow when I was about 15, but I am really no more of a printer, than I am an astronaut and I am deeply lucky to have a 10-year partnership with our extraordinary printers in Los Angeles. We know each other so well and they can turn a decent picture into a great picture. That is a process that must surely be central to a photographer’s heart.