Cowboys of the Americas
- ISBN: 9781771641166
- Tags: Art & Photography, Luis Fabini, Travel & Adventure, Wade Davis,
- Dimensions: 12.5 x 10
- Published On: 9/30/2016
- 168 Pages
An awe-inspiring portrait of cowboys throughout the Americas in images and words and a passionate exploration of their bond with horses and the land.
For more than a decade, photographer Luis Fabini immersed himself in cowboy culture as he traveled through North and South America. This stunning collection of photographs from those travels reveals the cowboy who lives in silence and solitude, the interconnectedness of these men with the land, and a traditional way of life that exists on the outskirts of society but also vividly in our imaginations.
An eloquent text by anthropologist and author Wade Davis reflects on the long relationship between horses and humans, describes the significance of Fabini’s work, and illuminates the enduring spirit of cowboy culture.
Luis Fabini was born in Uruguay and began his career as a travel photographer in South America. His interest in photography began at age seven, when his father put a camera in his hands before the two embarked on a trip across the Andes. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Wade Davis is an anthropologist, author, and explorer. He is the author of numerous books, including Into the Silence, Sacred Headwaters and The Wayfinders. He has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet, and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”
"This superb collaboration between two artists, one photographic and one literary, will redefine readers’ image of the cowboy....The book shatters the charming myth of the cowboy, showing him to be much deeper, richer, and dustier, and giving readers new respect for the men who live by freedom and need only a horse and a hat. From a visual standpoint, the work is simply magnificent." —Publishers Weekly
From Of Horses and Men
Some years ago I spent a long season in northern British Columbia, working much of the time for Reg and Ray Collingwood, guide outfitters whose territory included the Spatsizi, a vast expanse of wilderness in scale similar to that of the far reaches of Patagonia or the wetlands of the Pantanal. It was then that I came to know the men portrayed in this book. Not literally, of course, but certainly in spirit. Today, the Collingwoods run a sophisticated, high-end operation, perhaps the finest wilderness destination in western Canada. But forty years ago when the brothers started out, things were simple, and their crew were cowboys—men who lived where their hats fell, rough-cut diamonds who worked the hunting camps all fall, drank away their earnings in a weekend, and retreated to the line cabins of the Chilcotin far to the south to tend cattle through the long and impossible winters of the Interior.
Many of them, including a lanky wrangler named Lester Miller, came from Clinton, which was not an ordinary town. In the late 1960s a Vancouver motorcycle gang named Satan’s Choice made a habit of roaring into unsuspecting communities, terrifying the local populace, and retreating to the coast. One summer they foolishly selected Clinton as a target. Emerging from the old Cariboo Hotel, having been thrown out of the bar, they were greeted by a semicircle of rifles. Slack-jawed, they watched in horror as the cowboys blew apart their Harley-Davidsons. To get home, the entire gang had to take the Greyhound bus.
Lester rode bulls in the Clinton rodeo and one day ruptured his scrotum during a ride. When whiskey failed to quell the pain, he entered the hospital and was sewn up, but not before the loss of a testicle. Years later I was with him when he and Reg Collingwood confronted a Greenpeace party that had parachuted into the Spatsizi in a vain attempt to shut down the outfitter camps, even though hunting was legal and, more importantly, the essential gesture that still linked the Tahltan native guides to the land. Greenpeace was represented by a journalist from Vancouver who wrote a column on fine wines. Lester represented himself and resented the Greenpeace banner flying over a camp that outfitters had built. When he took an ax to the flagpole, the journalist beseeched Reg to get his man under control. Reg, short like his brother Ray, with a cowboy hat that shadowed his moustache, leaned over the table in the cookhouse and said to the wine expert, “Listen, you son of a bitch. Let me tell you something about Lester. First, he comes from Clinton. Second, he rides bulls. Third, he’s got one nut. You get him under control.”
Lester was just one of a cast of characters in the Collingwood operation. Others were Shawn Boot, whose mother once beat back a grizzly with a frying pan, and Jack Cherry and Teddy Elison, cowboys like Lester from the Cariboo and Chilcotin. Teddy was with Reg on the fateful night when the Collingwood crew, keen for libation after a season in dry camps, slipped into Hyder, Alaska, for a few drinks at a hotel bar. On their way south they had picked up a hitchhiker, a loner standing by the road with nothing but a saddle, a duffel, and a .30-06 rifle. His name was Bernie.
Close to midnight, with the bar about to close, Reg took notice of an American miner playing cards at a nearby table. Beside him was a little boy, clearly his son, who kept asking to go home. The father, having ignored the lad all evening, finally whacked him. Reg walked over and told the man that the kid should be in bed, and that if he wanted to pick on someone, he ought to pick on somebody his own size.
“And I’m ready.”
The miner slowly stood up, as did his friends, and every one of them was a foot taller than Reg.
“Just a minute,” he said, excusing himself to take stock of his men. Six months in the bush and four hours of drinking had left them pretty wobbly. He turned to Bernie, the hitchhiker.
“Bernie,” he said, “we haven’t known each other that long. But if you want a ride out of here, I need a little backup.”
“No problem,” Bernie said. “It was nice of you to pick me up. But I think we need an equalizer.”
Reg backed up toward the door of the bar with a half-dozen angry Americans in pursuit. Suddenly gunfire broke the night. Reg and his boys stumbled out of the hotel and into the street, where Bernie stood, .30-06 in hand, shooting out the windows of the hotel.