instalation view Art Gallery of Calgary 2008


Cowboy Wild

The first cowboys I photographed were at a small-town rodeo in rural Alberta. I camped out with the
competitors and was surprised to find them watching satellite TV in big RVs. Sometime after dark, I woke to shouts of Yahoo! and the roar of ATVs careening through the trees.
 I had grown up on the other side of the Atlantic where cowboys rode the silver screen. Six shooters and friends like Tonto were irresistible to young boys and provided a narrative for our games. In rural Alberta, I had expected bedrolls around the campfires That sleepless night, more than the picture-perfect rodeo the next day, fueled my fascination.

A month later, I went to my first Stampede. It was like being at a cowboy convention and I was hooked.
I went to the rodeo but found my gaze kept turning towards the audience rather than the arena. The cowboy
of the imagination interested me as much as the real McCoy. I bought a cowboy hat and for ten Stampedes, between 1995 and 2008, I joined the faithful, sweating it out on the concrete.






















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copyright David Campion