Cowboys, Photography, and Poetry

Photographer and working cowboy Erwin E. Smith gets some coffee from the chuck wagon on the LS Ranch, Texas, 1907.  Click the link for more of Smith’s photos.

Erwin E. Smith and His Mount Overlooking the Country from a High Point on the JA Ranch, Texas, 1908.

“My ceiling the sky, my carpet the grass, my music the lowing of herds as they pass;
my books are the brooks, my sermons the stones, my parson’s a wolf on a pulpit of bones.”

— Allen McCanless (cowboy poet), 1885

Erwin E. Smith (1886-1947)
Photographer Erwin E. Smith riding a “sunfisher” and he is not pulling leather, Bonham, Texas
1908
Gelatin silver print
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Bequest of Mary Alice Pettis
P1986.42.135

Follow on Instagram?

If you are an Instagram user, I started posting there last year.  My address was hacked from a Russian IP and I ended up starting all over.  We’ll see if I can make it work this time…

https://www.instagram.com/paleotool/

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I was a skeptic at first because I don’t use a phone as a primary platform to reach the internet but it does have its benefits; especially for my friends who are real photographers and artists.

Romanian Gypsies

By Peter van Beek

A mix of old and new technology.  Horse power on modern running gear.  Photo by Peter van Beek.  Click the image to view the photo album.

Peter van Beek has documented the difficult life of nomads in a modernizing Europe.  Fear, stereotypes, and unfamiliarity dominate their way of life and place them into a partially self-imposed, marginalized portion of society.  Although there is terrible poverty, he documents family life and survival of these remarkable people.

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Simple shelter as used by our ancestors since the beginning of time.

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It isn’t easy being a nomad in a modern technological world. There is easy place for this lifestyle.

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The world has changed but many traditions have not.

 

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There are certainly exceptions to nomadism. Many Romany cling to their traditions and morph them into a new lifestyle. All of our people have done this.

But it isn’t all oppressive poverty “By collecting and selling iron they get very rich and build their own village with huge palaces where they started living.”  While settling down, the community keeps it’s own unique sense of style.

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Hard work and some flexibility can make assimilation slightly easier.

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Ethnic identity shows in this vernacular style.

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Beautiful young women with a foot in both worlds.

“Many Kaldarash people (the coppersmiths) still wear colorful clothes, living in a beautiful traditional way.  In some villages, time seems to stand still.”

From Peter van Beek’s website:

“The only nomadic gypsies in Europe live in Romania, the country that joined the European Union in 2007. Living a hard life in Romania these semi-nomadic people hold on to traditions and rituals. Amongst them are story-and fortunetellers, musicians and coppersmiths. Despite a law against nomadic life these gypsies still live in their harsh and remarkable way.”

Images found at Peter Van Beek Photography.  Check out his beautiful work and consider buying his book about the Roma:

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1930s Caravans in America

travel-trailerHere are a few interesting trailers from the Golden Age.  I hesitated to post these some time ago as I could not rediscover the website they came from.  I try my best to attribute images to their source.  Tools like Pinterest and Tumblr are great but the data is easily stripped away.

trailer-familyThis is interesting stuff but I wish we had a glimpse inside these creatures “in use.”  It’s easy to stage a photo but I appreciate it when we can see how the space is actually used.

trailer-lifeThe awning or tent is the best addition you can make to your Vardo home.  Look for more great vintage images here on the Old Picture of the Day Blog.

Photographer – Nukshi Alice

NukshiAliceFrom her ABOUT Page:  Nukshi is a documentary and portrait photographer and an artist living and working in Nottinghamshire.
Her sensitivity to situations, culture and people, has allowed her to adapt well to new challenges and environments.  She captures her images by getting involved with people, their culture and lifestyle, which motivates her to preserve those times and moments.  Knowledge and empathy with her subjects is the key to her image success, especially when intimate portraits are involved.

With an open mind and a quest to explore extreme situations, places, cultures, people and learn from that interaction. She intend to travel more, in doing so broaden her abilities. Often able to impart new skills to individuals in an exchange for their confidence in her, which has allowed her to bond with them easily.

VardoWhen a friend sent a link to her website I was, of course, immediately interested in the vardo.  Looking beyond the structure, there is wonderful documentation of life on the road.  An exterior wash stand tripod, pragmatic stairs, cooking tripod, and the ubiquitous tea kettle extend the home.

fullinteriorA homey interior, with an eye for beauty is shown in this “typical” vardo.

CookingA rare site where I live.  Nomads and Travellers are not often welcome in the modern world.  I’m glad this couple can live as they wish.

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More details are documented on her website.  I picked a few of my favorites for this post.

GeorgeAnd let’s not forget the people who keep this tradition alive.  It’s all well to look at the staged “gypsy” wagons across the web, but it’s important to remember that these are truly home, made complete by their inhabitants.

grinderA way to make a living. I still remember the knife grinder who made his way around the city in St. Louis many years ago.  His was not quite this flashy but had the housewives scurrying out with handfuls of knives and scissors when he came around.  I suspect that’s a rare job in America today.

Many more images from this series and others are viewable on Nukshi’s website.  Have a look and read the little story that accompanies the photos.

When hunting backfires

WhosthebossA while back I came up on a hawk who appeared to have caught something.  Then suddenly there was a blur, some thrashing, and here’s what I saw when I got to it.  In wrestling, we would call that a reversal.  Who’s the boss now? I decided to break it up for the good of the hawk.  Both of those guys help keep the rodent population down and the snake couldn’t eat the hawk.  It seemed a needless death to me.

This is just a re-visitation of a much older post someone recently asked me to find.  Click the photo for the link.