Pete Byrne: Quien Sabe Ranch, Texas

Work / Photography

Photography: Peter Byrne’s portraits of real life 21st Century cowboys

I’ve never done this before, but I’m going to recommend you a song to listen to while you read this post, here you go. Now the dulcet sounds of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings can soothe you as you look at these photos of REAL cowboys taken in America by Peter Byrne.

(Cowboy) hats off to Peter for journeying out to the big ol’ wild west to follow these men on over 45 ranches and document their day-to-day business on an old 6×65 film camera. And what business! Hands up if your chores include skinning a calf and falling asleep in a bar? Seriously though, this is my favourite kind of photography project, something the artist has completely immersed himself in over a long period of time, in order to uncover a part of the world less travelled. Peter speaks of the project very eloquently over on his site:

“Over the years the cowboys’ lifestyle has led to the creation of a mythical character, often stereotyped as a romantic hero or a hard-drinking and brash troublemaker. I wanted to look at the role of the contemporary cowboy and examine how the land provides a perfect backdrop for individuals at one with nature, and how the peace and tranquillity of the landscape mirrors the temperament of the cowboy.”


Pete Byrne: James Wayne Dyer at the Minnetonka Trading Post, Winslow, Arizona


Pete Byrne: Randal Gates breaking in colt, JA Ranch, Texas


Pete Byrne: Dead calf, Padlock Ranch, Montana


Pete Byrne: Carcass of stillborn calf whose coat was used for graft, Hamilton Ranch, Montana


Pete Byrne: Los Corralitos Ranch, Texas


Pete Byrne: N3 Ranch, California


Pete Byrne: Quien Sabe Ranch, Texas