"Cattle Business" looks at cattle ranching in the contemporary American West, through the eyes of one who makes a career in it. The series is part of a larger effort to examine how the camera influences depictions and interpretations of the American West. It focuses on the photograph as object, and the manipulation of photographic space and technique to explore the fantasies and realities of the ranching lifestyle. 

Popularized through Hollywood Western films, unglamorous images of the ranching and cowboying lifestyle are few and far between. As the gap between urban and rural populations expands, and consumers turn away from red meat, conventional ranching techniques are under increased scrutiny for their sustainability. Regenerative ranching and sustainable agriculture offers a new lease on life for ranchers, focused on carbon sequestration, soil health, and biodiversity. All of the ranchers photographed in "Cattle Business" are involved in natural, grassfed beef production. And yet while these new techniques fare well in the marketplace and the mind of the consumer, cattle ranching remains far from the bucolic wonderland it appears to be in marketing materials. Sickness, fire, blood, weather, and dirt fill the daily lives of all ranchers: things that often appear shocking or brutal when photographed, but in reality are just a daily part of raising livestock. 

"Cattle Business" is an ongoing project to photograph the overlooked, unglamorous elements of cattle ranching, without ulterior motives of plant-based diets or animal rights, and to document the dirty, daily grind of beef producers across America.

Using Format