The Canadian West has been a part of my life since I was a young teenager. Born and bred in Nova Scotia, I spent summers and more in Alberta, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic. In 2003, I set out to document the working cowboys of Millarville, Turner Valley, Black Diamond and Longview, Alta. This ongoing project has been the subject of exhibitions and magazine spreads.
Some say the cowboy is a dying breed, overtaken by big oil, urban sprawl and corporate farming. Many of the old ranches dating from the mid- to late-1800s have been subdivided, sold outright or have disappeared altogether. They have gone to oil companies and developers. They've surrendered to an insatiable demand for cheap food. They've become oilfields, subdivisions and shopping malls. Some of the ranches that still function are owned by oil barons and operated by low-paid hands overseen by veteran cowboys who are in it for the lifestyle, not the money.
I aim to record as much of the old cowboy life as I can, before it disappears. I thank Frank Thomson; the late Hugh McConnell; that cowboy of all cowboys, Jeff Johns; Clint and Monty Timmons; the Right Honorable Gaile Gallup; Dave Sandeman; my dear friend Garth Pritchard and, most of all, my brother Ted and his wife Patti for all their help, patience, hospitality and generosity.
This is for you.