Sometime in the early 1990s, I became acquainted with the world of Marlboro. The vast Western plains and the authentic drive of the cowboys with their herds inspired me to capture some of their most amazing moments in their folkloric tradition for almost a decade. The result of this liaison is a series of progressive works, which I call the American Myth.

He is a lone ranger, with his loyal horse and Stetson. He roams the prairies and crashes through rivers to seek new meandering paths. I too, am a lone ranger, with my loyal camera and eager eye. We could never have been more different, but curiously, we did see eye to eye on many different levels. We are somewhat parallels in our seeking of our truest self. For the machismo this iconic figure displays, I take that into my photography, to ultimately show equally powerful compositions of their presence.

MOMENT OF PONDER
REARING AT SUNSET
GALLOPING THROUGH WATERS I
ROPING MOMENT
PURSUING IN MOTION
BUCKING HORSE
GALLOPING THROUGH WATERS II
WILD WILD WEST
CAPTURING
IN THE SEARCH
REST AT SUNSET
GATHERING
WALK IN THE WOODS
IN PERSPECTIVE
A DRAG MOMENT
LONG SHADOWS OF REST
ROPING IN
ROPING MOMENT
MACHISMO PURE
STAKING DOWN

Dusk and dawn are magical moments through their hypnopompic influence on the psyche. Senses are drawn to heightened moods created through the glows of the transition from day to night and vice versa. And these are the moods I have found seductive about the mystical aura of the free-spirited cowboys in their natural habitat.

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The blue skies, framed by the vast prairies, form the oasis of the cowboys. Where they roam, is unmistakably sacred ground, with its mystical aura lending itself well to protect their dwellers. I wanted to capture the stupendous views of their governance over these lands as if the heavens had endowed them with the task of protecting the nature while being a part of it.

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There is no way of telling how long a myth will stay alive. The reality is I would be gone, way before this myth. I have always been transformational in how I approach life. And this art of rendering of my photographs satisfies my next urge to preserve this icon which has symbolized the dreams and hopes of this era. Here lies the boundary between reality and fantasy.

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© Hannes Schmid, 2020

15-COWBOY-831